It seems in recent years that the occurrences of amusement park accidents has risen. In 2016, two high-profile accidents made parents and thrill-seekers alike wonder if riding thrill rides was an unnecessary danger. The incident in Tennessee where three kids fell from a Ferris wheel, and the case of a boy who died when riding the water slide 'Verruckt'. If you are hurt in an amusement park accident, can you get compensation for it? It depends on how the accident occurred.
Amusement Park Ride Design
In some cases, the injury may be caused because of how the thrill ride was designed. In the example of the water slide, the height, combined with the severe drop makes for an uplifting feeling, or as roller coaster enthusiasts call it 'catching air'—a lifting out of your seat. The waterslide had a seat and over-the-shoulder seatbelt type strap. This design might have led to the boy's injury as it doesn't necessarily keep the rider in place securely.
In this case, you might have a case simply because an injury can be caused by the ride's design. The design of a ride is supposed to provide a safe and enjoyable experience and the manufacturer, as well as the amusement park, failed in this area by not ensuring a safe ride.
Another factor that can potentially lead to serious injury on a thrill ride is when the park fails to train their ride employees correctly. For the most part, thrill ride operators are trained very well and ensure each rider is securely fastened in place and will do a walk-around of the passenger cabins to make sure everything is as it should be.
It is possible and has happened, that newer employees or some parks with limited time schedules have not trained the employees effectively. This could lead to injuries due to improper fastening of straps or restraints not locking correctly.
It is also possible that an employee may be at fault when the ride does not receive proper maintenance during the year the park is open. The rides are supposed to be checked daily for any problems to ensure no accidents could be caused.
The one case where it is difficult to receive compensation for an injury on a thrill ride would be where the injury was caused by the rider themselves. If you suddenly stand up on a roller coaster on the lift-hill, and you are injured in the process, the park is typically not responsible for the injury. It could be argued that the restraint wasn't secure enough, but the fault here will generally fall to the rider. This is especially true if you deliberately unfasten the restraint to stand up.