Many of us know people who are fearless when it comes to venturing on the most stomach churning and gravity defying ride at amusement parks and fairs. While major amusement park ride accidents are not a common occurrence, at least one seems to happen every summer, and many other people suffer personal injuries as the result of less headline grabbing incidents. Amusement parks and ride operators can be held liable when amusement park accidents and injuries occur, but the fact is in South Carolina, there is a heavy duty placed on riders to protect their own safety.
Amusement Park Safety and Inspections
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reports that of the more than 335 million people who ride attractions at amusement parks and fairs each year, only one out of every 16 million suffer severe injuries. While this statistic may help to allay your fears before heading onto the roller coaster or bungee ride at your favorite attraction, these are only reported incidents, generally involving the types of amusement park accidents that make headlines.
There are many other dangers associated with amusement rides that could leave you with less severe but still serious injuries. These include:
- Sharp, exposed metal edges and jutting pieces, causing severe cuts and lacerations
- Chains and belts that can come loose, striking passengers and causing severe bruising and broken bones
- Uneven surfaces in parks, at exits and at entrances to rides, resulting in slip, trip, and fall injuries
- Unprotected passenger boarding areas and loose railings, resulting in falls from heights and being struck by ride cars
South Carolina requires all rides and amusements to be inspected on a yearly basis by investigators licensed through the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Unfortunately, inspections are more likely to be conducted at the beginning of the season, before damage and wear and tear occurs.
Rider Safety Regulations In South Carolina
While state laws require amusement parks and carnival operators to maintain liability insurance, it also puts a large portion of responsibility for preventing accidents and injuries on riders themselves. Under Section 41-16-320 of the South Carolina Code, there is a long list of safety compliance rules that riders must obey. These include:
- Obeying height and weight restrictions for each ride
- Refraining from boarding rides that exceed the rider’s abilities
- Refraining from extending arms or legs outside of passenger cars
- Refraining from entering or leaving rides until instructed to do so
- Reasonably controlling the speed or direction of rides with individual control units
- Not overloading rides beyond the weight limits
Have You Been Part of An Amusement Park Accident?
While carnival operators and amusement parks may try to put the blame on their customers, the fact is that they have a legal duty to inform riders of potentially dangerous conditions and to properly maintain property that is held open to the public. If you have suffered an injury while visiting these types of attractions, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. We can arrange a free consultation with our South Carolina personal injury attorneys, who can advise you on your rights to compensation for the injuries you suffered.