is the all-american amusement park safe? thousands of visitors are injured every year at amusement parks, but the industry remains largely unregulated. injured people lawsuits ask, how much fun is too much?
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of entertainmentparkseason. This summer, as families flock to the park for fun and entertainment, government authorities and consumer advocates continue to question the safety of rides in an increasingly competitive industry. Most people think these rides are safe, but the public\'s attention to amusement parks has increased dramatically since 1999, a particularly deadly year for the industry: * 12-year- The old boy fell 200 feet after slipping through his seat belt during a fall Zone Stunt Tower ride at parlamont American theme park in Santa Clara, California. * Five people were injured when a piece of wood came loose from the track of the berry farm roller coaster in Buena Vista, California. * A 20-year- The old man was fatally injured on the shawgwaller roller coaster in King Paramount rule area in Doswell, Virginia. * A 39-year- The old woman and her 8-year- When their car is from 30- Hike up and hit another car, injuring two people on a wild wonder roller coaster at the Aquarian Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, New Jersey. * A 28-year- An old woman drowned when a raft capsized six flags in Arlington, Texas. * In the Super Himalayan mountains of Coney Island, a teenager was dropped from a 10-fold car and died of internal bleeding. (1) Unfortunately, by car Since then, related deaths have occurred every year. According to the figures recently prepared by the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) An estimated 3,800 people were injured and fixed in 2002 On-site rides, 3,000 with mobile rides, 500 with inflatable rides. (2) Entertainment is a big business. International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) A leading industry organization estimates that there are 600 parks and attractions in the United States. According to the organization, 322 million visited the amusement park last year, an increase of 27% over last year. Revenue grew faster over the same period. -revenues of$10. 3 billion in 2003 was higher than 81% in 1990. (3) Although there are many different sizes in the park, the industry is dominated by large enterprises. Own institutions. According to entertainment business, an industry newspaper, nearly half of all 2003 tourists- More than 0. 155 billion people- To the 50 largest parks in North America. The Walt Disney Company is not surprising. There are five of the most watched Parks: The Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Epcot, MGM Disney Studios and The Disney Animal Kingdom. Six Flags park Limited He is another big player, 14 of the top 50 in 2003. (4) Entertainment is also a highly competitive industry. Customers are no longer satisfied with the quiet stimulation of spinning on the Ferris wheel; They want the highest and fastest, and it\'s hard for companies to surpass each other. Until last year, North America\'s biggest and fastest roller coaster was Superman: an escape trip to inValencia, California\'s Six Flags Magic Mountain. 415 feet high and 328 High Since 1997, the $100 roller coaster has set a record pace of 20 million miles per hour. (5) The Cedar Point Entertainment company spent $25 million on the top thrilling Dragster at 5 feet miles per hour and 20 miles. (6) Wild rides, weak federal regulations. Surprisingly, this lucrative, competitive industry is not regulated by the federal government. When Congress set up the CPSC in 1972, it authorized the commission to regulate all types of rides. (7) However, in 1981, Congress revised the consumer goods safety act to rule out certain types of rides: according to the Commission, the term \"consumer goods\" includes \"mobile rides \", \"With fairs, carnivals, parties or other activities, as well as inflatable rides, these activities move from location to location. However, the description explicitly excludes \"fixed- On-site rides can be found at amusement parks, theme parks or other permanent locations. (9) This means that the largest rides are most likely to operate without real supervision. It\'s no surprise that big companies in the entertainment industry have lobbied extensively for the amendment. Rep. Edward Markey(D-Mass. ) The federal government, which has long advocated the resumption of excessive regulation The site\'s rides called the amendment a \"roller coaster loophole \". \" (10) The CPSC has no right to investigate any events in a large park and fix- On-site operators do not need to report an accident or ride failure to the authorities. Because the data obtained by the task through its national electronic damage monitoring system (NEISS)-- Sample of about $100S. Hospital with emergency room- It only involves the need for inpatient treatment, and no one knows the frequency of a malfunction in the amusement facility or an error in the operator. Injuries, deaths, failures, and operator errors may be insufficientreported. Last year, Maki proposed a bill to close the roller coaster hole. National Amusement Park Ride Safety Law ( Current end) Jurisdiction of CPSC over fixed assets will be restored Funds will be raised for the committee\'s expanded duties. (11) State regulations. Some states also lack regulations. Eight states- The inspection plan was implemented for the bharerides, and the other eight states and the District of Colombia did not Fixed management check proceduresite rides. (12) Entertainment companies in these states can operate without any government supervision. The current national regulations are based on vague standards drafted mainly by the entertainment industry itself. Most are based on the standards set by the American Association for Testing and Materials (ASTM) It only provides a management and administrative system for the development of voluntary, consensus standards. In 1978, ASTM established an entertainment technology committee. Safety standards. Committee called astm f- 24. 15 standards have been developed for riding design, operation, maintenance, quality control and testing. Most recently, F2291-03a-- Released last year, known as the \"world standard\" of entertainment\"ridedesign-- Specific criteria including gforce limits. (13) This is the only standard that applies exclusively to rides. Of the nearly 400 members of astm f- More than half of the tourists over the age of 24 are Amusement Park manufacturers or amusement park operators. (14) Most of the Commission\'s officials are from the entertainment industry, or in line with the interests of the entertainment industry. (15) In view of the large number of rides, the plaintiff\'s view is -- Every year, there are related casualties, and the laws and regulations that are greatly affected by the industry are weak. the litigation involving entertainment companies will undoubtedly continue. Of course, the lawyer\'s first consideration is whether the plaintiff\'s claim is feasible in the relevant jurisdiction. One of the most common obstacles for all amusement park injury cases is the \"risk hypothesis\" principle, which prohibits claims if the plaintiff takes the risk of injury explicitly or implicitly. (16) Many countries, but not all of them, follow this principle. (17) Counsel shall determine whether the principle is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction and, if so, the manner in which it is applied. For example, in Georgia, people who use amusement park rides take the risk of injury, \"which is due to the natural and obvious dangers necessary for the purpose of the device. \" (18) In New York, people who participate in recreational activities agree with the risks that are often considered inherent in recreational activities. (19) Theory of responsibility. A customer at the amusement park is injured during the ride and there are usually several action reasons. Proof that the customer is not properly protected during the ride, or that the entertainment company does not properly maintain or operate the ride, should support allegations of general negligence. Rides are usually made by low- It is therefore not uncommon to find evidence to support claims for negligent employment or training. In states where the regulations apply to a particular ride, you should defend the negligence of each SC, which may be based on the ASTM standard. The facts behind many amusement park accidents support allegations of responsibility for the premises. Customers are often considered invitees, triggering the highest places -- Entertainment companies are responsible in most states. (20) For example, there may be evidence that the company was aware of a problem with a particular company in the past. It is also necessary to consider whether strict product liability is a viable claim. In most states, strict liability does not apply to owners and operators of rides. (21) However, if there is evidence of manufacturing, design, or marketing In order to cause injury, you should file a strict product feasibility claim against the appropriate parties. For example, a customer injured on a roller coaster at the Penn amusement park sued the Park with strict liability; The plaintiff claimed that his injury was caused by the manufacture and design of the detective of theride\'s seat belt. (22) Many of the larger parks have designed their own rides, in which claims for design defects may be filed against the park. However, some parks have signed design and manufacturing contracts with external companies. You need to be careful to assert the product liabilityclaim against these contractors because they usually have limited or no coverage. Some states take the amusement park as their duty as a means of public transport. (23) The ordinary carrier is usually engaged in the business of transporting the public or its property, and it is the responsibility to do its utmost, skill and vision to provide security for the safety of passengers. (24) You should determine whether the relevant jurisdiction recognizes the amusement park as a common carrier and, if so, you should make a claim based on this higher duty. Discovery. All maintenance and operation records and instructions are required. You should also get the specifications of all manufacturers. In some cases, you will find that the entertainment company does not properly maintain or operate the rides. If the state regulations apply to maintenance or operation, you may find that the company does not comply with them either. Reports of any injuries or other complaints are also requested. National laws or insurance companies typically require entertainment companies to track injuries and complaints, although they do not need to report to the authorities. The discovery may reveal information to support aspoliation-of-evidence claim. Because the defendant has full control of its rides before and after the accident, it may try to repair the rides before you check. For example, in Nguyen v. Six Flags theme park Co. , Ltd. , a13-years- The old boy was ejected from the front car of the Maya Mindbender roller coaster, which runs in a completely dark enclosed structure. (25) There\'s a T in every car- Before the start of the ride, pull the different shapes of the single circle bar to each rider\'s single circle. A few weeks after the accident, a company mechanic recorded a \"intermittent lock failure\" in the single-lap rod on the vehicle \". \"Although the Six Flags received several notice of claim, the company completely dismantled and repaired the journey --- Including replacing a single lap of almost every car. - Before the plaintiff sued. The company\'s staff work permit, which oversees the rehabilitation program, said that the company did not track which bars appeared on which cars, and therefore it was impossible to determine the condition of the bar that came out of the car in the accident. In order to avoid such a problem, inform the entertainment company in writing as early as possible of the potential claim, and require a comprehensive inspection of the amusement facilities before any change. Quick measures like this will help protect and even prevent claims against spoliation. Blame-the-victim defense. Entertainment companies almost always try to blame customers for injuries. However, since people injured at amusement parks are often young children, the company may be banned from claiming common negligence. At Nguyen, the accused the boy of not riding a roller coaster. Despite running around The bar was locked down and the Six Flags claimed that the boy came out of the car and flew about 20 on the concrete floor as he stood up and jumped up and down his seat. The company\'s case began to collapse because it took the silly position that the purpose of the one-lap bar was only to remind guests to stay seated, not physically limited. Nguyen gave an example of the shortcomings of CPSC\'s data collection ability: because children are not Neisshospanian, his injury has never been reported to the Commission. Experts. Experts with knowledge can help you refutethe- The victim defended and let the jury focus on the journey, not the soldiers. For example, a bioengineering engineer or a similar qualification expert can analyze the force applied to the human body during joint riding. Usually, these forces are strong enough to expel passengers who are not properly protected or who are riding a poorly functioning amusement facility due to equipment defects. It is also possible to consider hiring an industry expert with experience in the proper maintenance and operation of the rides. He or she can explain how negligence caused the accident. Amusement parks, theme parks and water parks have become an integral part of the American summer experience with a range of exciting rides. Most parks encourage customers to have a false sense of security that they believe- When they wait in line for their turn- \"Of course, with these people, these rides will be safe. \"But countless events from all over the country show that it is wise. Tourists will not know the danger of waiting for them until the government has put in place effective regulations requiring companies to report injuries that have occurred in the park. Notes (1) Mark Silver, deadly attraction-- Is the amusement park not safe? , U. S. News and World representative, Sept. 2000, at 56. (2. )MARK S. LEVENSON, U. S. CONSUMER PROD. Safe Communications, rides Related casualties in the United States: 2003 Update 4 (Nov. 2003). (3. ) International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, United States of AmericaS. Industry-theme parks and attractions- Attendance and income (2003) Available at www. iaapa. org ( Search for \"attendance \")( The last time was April. 28, 2004). (4. ) Entertainment business, Top 50 North American entertainment and theme. PARKS (2003). (5. ) Jessica revers and Frank Pellegrini, new roller coaster: thrilling, cold and some spills, time, June 26, 2001, available at www. time. com ( Search for \"new roller coaster \")( The last time was April. 28. 2004)(6. ) Top Thrill Dragster: Sky Race, available on www. cedarpoint. com ( Search for \"the most exciting dragler \")(The last time was April. 28, 2004). (7. ) Memorandum by Susan Ness, general counsel\'s office of the United StatesS. Consumer Prod. Security communications by Charles H. Boehne. United States Office of Field CoordinationS. Consumer Prod. According to the safety committee, \"rides fall under the jurisdiction of the Commission and are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Act\"S. C. [section]2052(a)(1)(Nov. 13, 1974). As originally enacted, the act defines \"consumer goods\" as \"any item produced or distributed or its components \". . . (ii) For the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of the consumer in a permanent or temporary home or residence, school, entertainment or other place. . . \" (emphasis added). (8. )15 U. S. C. 2052(a)(1)(2000). (9. ) LEVENSON, note 2 before. (10. ) Statement of the representative. Edward Markey (D-Mass. ) Introduction to the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Law of 2003 (May 22, 2003), H. R. 2207,108 Cong. , 1st Sess. (2003). (11. ) The National Amusement Park Security Act, 2003theorator. Com/billss8/hr2207. html ( The last time was April. 28, 2004). (12. )JAMES A. The situation of the office, the U. S. CONSUMER PROD. List of National amusement facilities safety officials (Mar. 2004). (13. ) The standard implementation rules for the design of amusement facilities and devices can be at www. astm. org ( Search \"F2291 \")(Last visit. 28, 2004). (14. )T. Harold Hudson, the new standard for world rides (Aug. 2003) At www. astm. org ( Search for \"World Standard \")( The last time was April. 28, 2004). (15. ) The F24 Committee on the support of rides and equipment, officials and staff is available at www. astm. org ( Search for \"F24\" and click on \"committee officer and staff support \")(The last time was April. 28, 2004). (16. )RESTATEMENT (SECOND)OF TORTS [subsection]496B, 496C (1965). (17. )See, e. g. Jekyll Island State Park. v. Machurik, 552S. E. 2d 94 (Ga. Ct. App. 2001): Beroutsos v. Six Flags theme park Co. , Ltd. ,713 N. Y. S. 2d 640 (N. Y. Sup. 2000). (18. ) Check Authorization for Jekyll Island State Park. , 552 S. E. 2d 94, 95-96. (19. ) See berouter SOS, 713Y. S. 2d 640, 641. (20. )Harrelson v. Wild Adventure Company, 588 S. E. 2d 341 (Ga. Ct. App. 2003); Lilya v. Grand Gulf state Expo Limited, 855 So. 2d 1049 (Ala. 2003). (21. )Ferrari v. Grand Canyon, 38 California. Rptr. 2d 65, 71-72(Ct. App. 1995)Siciliano v. Capitol performance company475 A. 2d 19 (N. H. 1984). (22. )Eljizi v. Donnie Park Roller Coaster, No. 92-C- 2322 cm, 1996 cm WL1038823 (Pa. Lehigh County Ct. Com. Pl. June 19. 1996). (23. )See, e. g. , Friedli v. Kern No. M1999-02810-COA-R9- CV, 2001 WL177184, at * 7 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2001). (21. )Id. at *6. (25. )No. 2001-54868 (Tex. Harris County. Ct. 2002). ROBERT E. Amans is a partner of the law firm in partnership with Amans, vuk vujasinovic and Vujasinovic Steven & Beckcom, both inHouston.