My 6 year old daughter sustained a blunt force trauma to the face a couple of months ago on a roller coaster at a large amusement park in PA.
She subsequently began having severe nose bleeds. Her ENT has advised us that our options are to put a gel in her nose twice daily indefinitely or put her through a surgery to cauterize the affected blood vessels in her sinuses.
Would it be the responsibility of the amusement park to help with the cost of her medical bills? At what point should a person obtain legal representation in a case like this?
I appreciate any information you can provide.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
Thank you for your question. We are sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury. The amusement park might have to pay for your daughter’s medical bills if it was negligent for her injuries. Further, it would also have to pay if it violated Pennsylvania’s Amusement Ride Safety Act of 1984.
In any event, in a case like this, you should seek the help of a skilled personal injury attorney immediately.
Carnivals and amusement parks have a duty of care to their visitors. That means amusement park owners must do everything reasonably possible to protect visitors from undue harm.
When amusement park owners fail to protect their visitors from injury, they’ve violated their duty. This violation is also referred to as negligence. Negligence means that a carnival or park (or one of its employees) failed to act responsibly or did something that no reasonable person would do.
When a theme park’s negligence causes injury, it is liable, meaning responsible for your damages.
Damages can include:
- medical and therapy bills
- out-of-pocket medical expenses
- lost wages
- an amount for a victim’s pain and suffering.
Even though the amusement park owes you a duty of care, it’s up to you to prove the amusement park acted negligently.
You can prove the amusement park is liable for your injuries by showing:
- An unsafe condition caused your injuries
- The park knew of the unsafe condition or should have known
- The park did not remove or repair the unsafe condition
- The unsafe condition was the direct cause of your injuries
- You would not have been hurt but for the unsafe condition
- You didn’t do anything to cause your injury
- Your injuries are medically verifiable
We would have to learn more about the facts of your case to provide a strong opinion on whether the Pennsylvania park was negligent, and therefore, responsible for your daughter’s injuries.
Some factors that might suggest a theme park was negligent include:
- the park failed to make proper safety inspections of a ride
- a ride operator made a mistake in operating a ride
- the park did not follow appropriate safety protocols with riders
- the park violated some statute or law during operations
The Amusement Ride Safety Act of 1984
The Amusement Ride Safety Act of 1984 granted the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture the responsibility to oversee the inspection and registration of Pennsylvania amusement rides. It also tasked the Department with ensuring that all rides meet the commonwealth’s legal requirements.
Under the law, amusement companies must register all equipment annually with the Bureau of Ride Safety. Only rides that are approved by the Bureau’s advisory board are allowed to operate.
Further, amusement operators are required to keep the Bureau informed of all activity and inspections. The statute requires parks to inspect rides and attractions daily.
Ride operators are also required to undergo a statewide training, testing, and certification program.
If the park in question violated any of these demands within the Safety Act, and the violation contributed to your daughter’s injury, then there’s a good chance that the park was negligent.
Get Help From an Experienced Attorney
It’s crucial that you seek help from a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Amusement parks and their insurance companies typically fight personal injury cases every step of the way.
Frequent attempts to challenge injured victims involve:
- Comparative Fault: The park may try to deny or reduce the value of your daughter’s claim by arguing that you or your child helped cause some of the circumstances leading to her injuries.
- Assumption of Risk: The park might say that you or your daughter have no right to compensation because either of you was aware that the ride was dangerous and choose to do it anyway.
- Waiver of Liability: The park may state that the fine print on the back of your ticket was an agreement not to blame the park for injuries.
A skilled personal injury attorney knows how to overcome these arguments.
Also, keep in mind that if you decide to treat your daughter with a daily nose gel, this is an ongoing medical expense your daughter will incur. If you prove that the park was negligent, a lawyer can help determine the value of this treatment.
Child injury claims can be complicated. There’s just too much at stake to risk taking on the park and its insurance company on your own.
Most personal injury lawyers provide a free consultation. They also charge on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay them a dime until you receive compensation.
Learn more here: Amusement Park Accident Claims
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
We wish you the best with your claim,
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