In the United States there are almost 10,000 serious injuries every year at amusement parks and more than 150 deaths. A wrongful death lawyer Las Vegas aids families seeking compensation from the park.
The Surge In Theme Park Accidents
Before 1981, the Consumer Product Safety Commission was responsible for regulating amusement park safety, in particular the safety of roller coasters; however, in 1981, Congress exempted roller coasters from federal government oversight with the so-called “roller coaster loophole.”
The result was a patchwork of laws across the nation detailing which government agency in each state has the right to oversee the operation of parks. While most states do allow some oversight, Nevada is one of six states that has no regulation, either through state, county, local, or even private inspection companies.
It is impossible to get an accurate number of serious injuries and deaths from theme park accidents each year, because the parks self-report their totals to the industry’s lobbying organization, which continues to fight hard to limit any government interference. When an injury does occur, the parks use in-house attorneys to press for a confidential settlement, out of view of the public.
Holding Parks Responsible
Despite the hurdles, a wrongful death lawyer Las Vegas can use several different lines of attack to hold the park liable for the injury or death.
The many moving parts of a theme park ride create dozens of opportunities for a piece of faulty machinery to cause an accident. A single screw loose on a roller coaster wheel may send the cart off course, or a broken locking mechanism on a seat harness may throw a rider out of the vehicle.
In the case of faulty machinery, both the theme park management and the ride manufacturer may be held liable for the injury or death. If the ride owner knew that there were problems with a ride, and did nothing to correct the issue, management is responsible. If the ride caused the accident because of a design flaw that the theme park was unaware of, the manufacturer can be held liable.
Rides and other attractions require constant maintenance, and every theme park has a dedicated staff of maintenance technicians to perform preventative maintenance tasks. The tasks are usually designed by the manufacturer, and include a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks necessary to keep the ride in working order.
When a theme park neglects scheduled maintenance tasks, management puts the public at risk and a wrongful death lawyer in Las Vegas may seek compensation. Examples of shoddy maintenance include:
- Failure to check brakes for proper operation
- Insufficient lubrication to keep moving parts in motion
- Clogged ventilation systems
- Poor lighting and slippery floors
Theme parks are not only responsible for the maintenance of the rides, but the maintenance of the grounds. Injuries and death that arise from slip and fall accidents and other hazards also qualify for compensation.
Lack Of Safety Controls
Ride designers and theme park companies devise redundant systems to keep patrons safe, but sometimes the enforcement of safety controls becomes lax. Often theme park employees are unaware of the importance of the controls, or do not have the training to enforce the controls correctly.
Commonly serious injuries or death arise from:
- Allowing riders under the height limit to ride high speed attractions
- Ignoring weight limits that strain the safe operation of a safety device
- Not enough lifeguards per patron at a swimming facility
- Lack of visual signage warning patrons of ride dangers
Even when an employee is the one responsible for overlooking safety controls, the theme park is still liable for the employee’s actions. Management is required to oversee enforcement of the safety controls by employees, and must be held accountable for the actions of people acting on the company’s behalf.
Violence from other patrons is always a possibility at a theme park, whether it be a simple theft or a more serious assault. Nevada law requires public spaces to provide adequate levels of security to protect the general public, and parks can be held liable for not providing a safe environment.
Security comes in many different forms, but includes:
- A uniformed presence to deter violence or law breaking
- Reporting and emergency stations to go to in the event of an attack
- Proper lighting and limited dark spaces
- Prompt response to a security threat
Many parks are relying more and more on security cameras rather than actual guards, and while the cameras do protect park property, they do little to deter patron on patron attacks.
Theme parks are meant to be safe places where families can relax and build memories together. When a park violates its duty to create a safe space, and puts the health and safety of patrons in danger, the park must be held responsible.