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Are Amusement Parks Liable for Injuries?

Posted By David Hernandez || July 11, 2014


Coney Island Amusement Park RidesPicture this: the kids are out of school for the summer and have already worn out the many activities that New York City has to offer, and they have been begging for something fun to do. One of the most exciting and fun-filled places to go is, of course, Coney Island.

While your kids are enjoying the ride, something goes wrong and they are injured. Can the amusement park be held responsible for that injury? As a premises liability attorney in Brooklyn, I get this question often— especially in the summer when more people are visiting the amusement park.

Amusement parks take several steps to protect themselves against lawsuits for injuries that happen on their property. When you buy your ticket online or at the gate, it most likely has a disclaimer on the back — ortwo, or three.

But, these disclaimers do not completely release amusement parks from responsibility and liability. There are several legal theories that can apply to an amusement park injury, and the two most common are negligence and product liability.

Examples of negligence include failure to post or maintain warning signs, failure to train the ride operators, not keeping rides and equipment in safe condition, and failure to regularly inspect. The amusement park may also be held liable for the actions and omissions of its employees.

If you do sue an amusement park for an injury that took place on their premises, there are several common defenses their attorneys might use. One is assumption of risk: if you board a ride at an amusement park, you should know the possible risks of being injured.

A second defense may be rider noncompliance with safety rules. Sometimes, passengers on roller coasters do not abide by the safety rules that are listed and explained, such as keeping hands and feet inside the car or standing up. If you, or your children, are injured because these rules were not followed, it is an easy defense for the park.

But, if an injury occurred, and all the safety rules were being followed, there is a chance that the amusement park was negligent and therefore responsible for your injuries. Be careful this summer, and know where to contact and experienced premises liability lawyer if you are injured as a result of neglect.

Photo Credit: Bob Jagendorf  via Compfight cc