The Tallahassee Democrat reports that the Tallahassee Police Department is investigating an accident that occurred at the North Florida Fair last weekend when a 14-year-old girl was inexplicably thrown from a ride and broke her nose. The ride, “Music Express”, spins in a circular loop while remaining on the ground, like a high-speed carousel, while passengers sit in two-person cars. An eyewitness reported that while the ride was operating at full speed the teenager’s feet started to slip out of the car and that she was thrown from the ride when she couldn’t hold on any longer. The witness also reported that the teen was abiding by the rules of the ride and was not horsing around at the time of the accident. Additionally, the manager of the North Florida Fairgrounds reported that there was no malfunction on the part of the machine (i.e. that the ride’s lap restraints were operating properly and that at the time of the accident the ride was traveling at the manufacturer recommended velocity). So what happened? Who’s to blame? While the cause of this particular accident is still under investigation it may be helpful to take a quick look at how liability is often assigned after an amusement park ride injury occurs.
Liability for Amusement Park Ride Injuries
Personal injury lawsuits involving amusement park ride injuries are generally based on one or more of the following legal theories:
- Negligence: If the amusement parks or fairs responsible for maintaining and operating the ride failed to carry out their responsibilities with reasonable care, i.e. if they acted negligently in some way, and this negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries then they may be held accountable under a negligence theory of liability.
- Product Liability: If a manufacturing or design defect embedded in the ride caused the injury (for example, if a defective lap bar allowed a rider to be flung from the ride) then the manufacturer, seller, and any other party involved in the ride’s chain of distribution could likely be named in a resulting personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, these parties could also potentially be held liable under a product liability theory of negligence if they failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions.
- Premises Liability: The owner or operator of the land on which the injury occurred may be held liable under a premises liability theory of negligence if they failed to maintain the premises in a reasonable manner. The standard of care that the property owner or operator owed to the injured rider varies a bit depending on whether the injured individual was a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee, but if the applicable standard of care was violated then the responsible property owner or operator may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Do You Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Personal Injury Lawyer
Anyone who has been injured in Florida due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful behavior is invited to contact the experienced personal injury lawyers of Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law today to schedule a free initial consultation. During your consultation one of our knowledgeable attorneys will review the facts of your case, determine whether or not you likely have a viable claim on your hands, and discuss your legal options with you. To get started simply give our Ocala office a call toll free at 352-558-8480.