It depends. In most cases, as long as reasonable care was taken in designing, maintaining, and managing the ride itself, a court will generally not impose personal injury liability on an amusement park. This concept of “reasonable care” provides a loose standard that often varies based on the circumstances and facts of a particular injury.
What Types of Factor Determine Reasonable Care?
Reasonable care regarding roller coasters and amusement park rides generally deals with the danger level of the ride itself. For example, courts are likely to expect minimal maintenance and supervision for a merry-go-round. In contrast, an amusement park is likely to require constant inspection and supervision of a massive roller coaster. For the most extreme rides, courts may even impose a standard of care synonymous with common carriers (e.g. subways, airplanes, trains).
Additional factors a court may look into include:
- Average age of the intended rider
- Any possible fault of the rider in causing his or her own injury
- Third party interference
- Extraordinary events or factors that may have caused the injury
- Violations of state inspection codes or regulations
- Similar prior accidents on the ride
What If the Amusement Park Built the Ride Itself?
If the amusement park built the ride themselves, they can also be sued for personal injury due to product’s liability. In this case, the amusement park is held strictly liable, meaning that court does not even need to decide if reasonable care has been shown.
Some courts have imposed product’s liability even where the amusement park hadn’t built the ride. This usually happens when an amusement park continues to operate a ride that it knows has a defect that can cause injury.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
If you were injured on an amusement park ride, you should contact a personal injury attorney to assess your case. A lawyer can help determine whether the amusement park exercised reasonable care, and any possible product’s liability claims you may have.