Fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks are a classic hallmark of summertime in Oklahoma. But while amusement parks provide hours of entertainment for millions of families every summer, children and adult visitors can be seriously injured if a ride malfunctions, which can occur due to operator error or mechanical defects in the ride itself.
If you or your child was injured at an Oklahoma amusement park, water park, fair, or carnival, your family may be entitled to compensation from the park, its employees, the ride manufacturer, or other parties. The amusement park accident lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have more than 75 years of combined experience helping victims get compensated for serious injuries and wrongful death. When you’re represented by Hasbrook & Hasbrook, you can expect compassionate guidance, innovative legal strategies, and a relentless drive to secure justice for you and your loved ones.
To talk about your case in a free and private legal consultation, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. We’re here to help you understand your family’s options.
Who is Liable for Compensating the Victim When an Amusement Park Accident Occurs?
Oklahoma’s amusement park regulations are consolidated under Sections 460 through 469 of Title 40, forming the Amusement Ride Safety Act. The Act gives the Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) two responsibilities:
- Performing periodic surveillance of parks to make sure they are complying with state and federal safety laws.
- Performing annual inspections of all Oklahoma amusement park rides.
The annual inspection requirement applies only to permanent (fixed) rides, which leaves traveling fair and carnival rides largely outside the scope of ODOL oversight. Mobile rides are required to be inspected by ODOL only when they are moved, which creates greater opportunities for damage go unnoticed until it is already too late for innocent park-goers.
Determining fault (liability) for an amusement park accident is often a complex issue, because many different parties can be involved depending on the circumstances under which the accident or breakdown occurred. However, most accidents share one feature in common: they are often caused by preventable, careless human errors. These errors can occur when a ride is being designed, manufactured, assembled, transported, maintained, repaired, or operated. Some examples of errors and problems that can lead to amusement park disasters include:
- Allowing passengers onto rides who do not meet height/weight requirements.
- Defective safety harnesses, belts, buckles, and lap bars.
- Electrical hazards like frayed wires or old, overheating cords.
- Failing to maintain the area around the ride for safety (e.g. failing to remove fallen tree limbs from roller-coaster tracks in a timely manner).
- Failing to screen park employees with appropriate background checks.
- Failing to secure passengers properly or check that safety devices have engaged before starting the ride.
- Inadequate ride maintenance, leading to mechanical defects and physical damage (e.g. rust, corrosion, loose bolts).
- Lack of warning signs and safety notices.
- Operating a ride improperly (e.g. too fast, too abrupt of a stop).
- Operating a ride while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
- Operating a ride without proper training or experience.
- Sharp, ragged edges on rides or safety restraints.
When an accident is caused by a preventable human error, the person or business who committed the error may be liable for compensating the victim for medical bills, pain and suffering, income losses, and other expenses. Our attorneys will dig through every scrap of evidence until we get to the bottom of what caused your accident to occur.
Were You or Your Child Injured on a Rollercoaster, Water Slide, Carousel, or Other Ride?
All types of water park and amusement park rides have the potential to inflict catastrophic injuries if an accident happens. However, it isn’t always the fastest or most “extreme” attractions that are to blame for serious injuries. In fact, a study in Clinical Pediatrics revealed that the ride responsible for the greatest number of injuries — about one in five — is the seemingly harmless carousel (merry-go-round). The same study also found that:
- Most injuries were caused by falling into, onto, or off of a ride (31.7%).
- About 1.5% of reported injuries resulted in hospitalization of the victim.
- The areas of the body most likely to be injured were the head and neck (28%). Examples of head and neck injuries that can be caused by amusement park rides include:
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- The most common injuries caused by amusement park rides were soft tissue injuries (29.4%). Common examples of soft tissue injuries include:
- Contusions (Bruising)
- Sprains (Torn Ligaments)
- Strains (Torn Muscles)
Other injuries which can be caused by amusement park ride accidents include:
- Amputation and Dismemberment
- Back Injuries
- Broken Bones/Bone Fractures
- Crush Injuries
- Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
Our attorneys handle accident claims involving all types of rides and attractions, including:
- Bumper Cars
- Bungee Slingshot Rides
- Drop Rides
- Haunted Houses
- Inflatable Slides
- Log Flumes
- Pendulum Rides
- Train Rides
- Viking Ships
- Water Rides
- Wave Pools
- Zip Line Rides
Our Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Help
If you or your son or daughter was hurt at an amusement park in Oklahoma, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation. We will keep your information confidential.