Following multiple accidents at Texas carnivals and amusement parks in late April and early May, the start of the amusement park, fair, and carnival season can add yet another injury to the already burgeoning tally. Last week, a boy and his father were shaken after a harness on a rollercoaster at a Texas amusement park came unlatched while the ride was in motion. The father held on to his young son to avoid having the child fall from the ride. After notifying the ride operator of the problem, the father was allegedly inexplicably told that the defect happens sometimes. In a separate incident at a Texas fair, one teen was killed when she and a friend were thrown from a Sizzler ride.
These problems are a product of the uneven and patchwork regulations that cover amusements including fairs, carnivals, theme parks, and hayrides. There is no national standard or regulatory regime protecting the safety of children and families who visit fairs, carnivals, and other attractions. Rather, a patchwork of state laws governs safety regulations — where they exist. Riders and patrons of these establishments often lack not only the information they need to make informed safety decisions but also face regulations that do not force ride operators to engage in routine and necessary maintenance and staff training. If someone you love was injured in a rollercoaster accident, call a Philadelphia amusement park injury lawyer.
Girl Suffers Horrifying, Life-Altering Injuries on Carnival Ride
Elizabeth Gilreath and her family were visiting a Nebraska Cinco de Mayo festival. The 11-year-old girl was excited to ride the spinning King’s Crown ride with her friends. Unfortunately, this ride resulted in horrible, life-altering consequences for the young girl. Unfortunately, not long after the ride started, it was clear that something had gone terribly wrong. The girl’s hair became caught in the gears and other parts of the ride. The girl’s hair and head were pulled into the ride’s machinery causing severe and potentially permanent injuries.
The injuries occurred when the girl slipped off the seat on the ride. When she slipped, reports vary on whether her hair became caught in the machinery or the decorations of the ride. While eyewitness accounts differ on the matter, the ride continued to run for an extended period of time with the girl’s hair trapped inside. It is unclear why the ride operator did not stop the ride at the time of the accident, but eyewitness Jolene Cisneros was forced to run over and stop the ride manually. She stated, “It was still spinning. I had to stop it with my hands and turn it to the point where it was to the platform. Surveillance video shows the ride operator running away from the scene of the accident. Some speculate that the operator was running to get help, but it is unclear why he did not take action to stop the ride sooner.
The young girl suffered terrible injuries due to the accident. She cannot speak and is only able to communicate through hand squeezes. She cannot close her eyes due to injuries sustained to her eyelids. According to Timothy Gilrath his daughter’s scalp was totally removed including her hair. These are traumatic and horrifying injuries and family members indicate that the young girl is lucky to be alive.
Family Was Wary of the Dangers of Carnival Rides
One sad aspect of this story is that the parents revealed in an interview with a local news agency that they do not like carnival rides. They say that they do not trust the rides because of how quickly they are set-up and taken down. The parents say that they did not know that Elizabeth was going to the fair because she went to the carnival with her cousins. They only found out that she was going when Elizabeth called, apparently on the way to the fair.
One other aspect regarding the dangers of fairs is the potential lack of training of the employees and ride operators. While it is not clear if this was the case in this accident, the actions of the ride operator have attracted significant scrutiny. An investigation is ongoing and will hopefully determine the exact cause behind the accident and whether the ride could have been stopped sooner and prevented or mitigated the injuries suffered by the young girl.
Injured on a Fair or Carnival Ride? Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney of The Reiff Law Firm
Rides found at carnivals and fairs are governed by only a patchwork of safety regulations that differ from state to state. In most cases, these regulations fail to adequately protect thrill seekers from risks and dangers associated with these rides. If you sustained a serious injury at a fair or carnival, the Six Flags amusement park injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with strategic and aggressive attorneys call (215) 709-6940 today.