The Ohio State Fair Fire Ball Ride Accident
Amusement park rides are supposed to be a source of lighthearted fun, but it’s clear that this is not always the case. As evidenced by the Ohio State Fair tragedy, amusement park accidents can be truly devastating and can impact the rest of your life physically, emotionally and financially. With an estimated 30,000 injuries from amusement park rides per year, the need for experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyers is always growing. The attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm have decades of experience handling amusement park accident injury cases and are passionate about protecting your rights. We will go the extra mile to successfully resolve your case and ensure that negligent third parties are held responsible for their actions. Call today for a free consultation on your injury case at (215) 709-6940.
A spinning pendulum ride called the “Fire Ball” was running at the Ohio State Fair, broke apart mid-ride, and caused death and injury. The swinging motion of the ride was interrupted as the ride fell apart at the seams. Amateur video of the accident was posted to social media, showing the ride crumble as riders fell to the ground. One rider was killed when he was ejected from the collapsing ride. Seven others were injured in the fall, two of which were in critical care. State inspectors have since shut down all rides until they can be inspected a second time.
These kinds of injuries are unacceptable. The amusement park injury attorneys at Reiff Law Firm represent amusement park and fair ride victims who are injured on spinning and swinging rides like the Fire Ball. If you or a loved one was injured at a state fair, local festival, or carnival, talk to one of our attorneys today about our case.
Swinging and Spinning Carnival Rides like the “Fire Ball” Cause Serious Injuries
Rides like this pose a serious risk to riders and bystanders. A ride similar to the Fire Ball was previously shut down in Orange County, California after inspectors called for a second inspection. This incident at the Ohio State Fair further demonstrates the danger of many carnival and fair rides. Whether you are a rider, waiting in line, or are a bystander watching the ride, you could face serious injuries from collapsing or malfunctioning rides.
The specific ride in question literally fell apart mid-ride. On its first day of operation at the State Fair, parts of the circular seating area of this ride detached from the rest of the ride, sending riders flying through the air. As this case demonstrates, this can easily lead to death or serious injury. Falling on your back or your head can mean serious brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. These injuries can be deadly or leave permanent injuries that will require serious rehabilitation and care for the rest of the victim’s life. Less severe injuries may still include broken bones, cuts, and scrapes.
Bystanders are also at risk when fast-moving rides collapse. The creators of this Fire Ball ride describe its spinning and swinging motion as an “aggressive thrill.” Video of the ride collapse shows riders and debris flying toward areas with bystanders and passers-by. If these people or flying objects strike another person, they could be seriously injured. Those standing in line are also at risk if rides collapse or pieces are sent flying.
Was Corrosion to Blame?
The Fire Ball ride was manufactured by a Dutch company called KMG. On August 6, about 10 days after the accident, KMG’s product manager Albert Koon gave a statement regarding what he believed caused the deadly incident. An investigation of the 18-year-old ride apparently revealed excessive corrosion on the interior of the gondola support beam. This corrosion dangerously reduced the beam’s wall thickness over several years. It is not clear whether this corrosion was, or could have been, discovered during the other numerous inspections performed prior to the July 26th accident, but Ohio Department of Agriculture records showed passing marks on inspections for the Fire Ball on about three dozen items, including possible cracks, brakes, proper assembly and installation.
Facts about Corrosion
Corrosion is the deterioration of metal as a result of chemical reactions between the metal and the surrounding environment. There are many factors that play into corrosion, such as the type of metal and the particular environmental conditions. The specific type of gasses that come into contact with the metal typically determine the form and rate of deterioration.
General Attack vs. Localized Corrosion
General attack corrosion occurs when the entire surface of the metal structure is effected by corrosion. This is usually a resulted of chemical or electrochemical reactions. This type of corrosion is known to cause metal to break down and it a very common issue.
Localized corrosion occurs when only a portion of the metal structure is affected. The three distinct types, including: pitting (small holes inside the surface of the metal); crevice corrosion (occurring in stagnant locations like under a gasket); and filiform corrosion (occurring when water gets under a paint).
Koon’s statement did not refer to whether the corrosion of the interior support beam was considered a general attack or localized corrosion.
Can Corrosion Be Prevented?
All metals are susceptible to corrosion, but The World Corrosion Organization estimates that about 25% of the global cost of corrosion could be eliminated by applying prevention. In fact, virtually all forms of metal corrosion can be managed, slowed, or even stopped by using proper techniques.
Can You Trust the Ride Manufacturer’s Word?
It’s important to consider the implications this explanation might have for the ride maker, KMG. If corrosion were to blame for the accident, it’s not clear whether this explanation would absolve KMG from liability in some way. First, it would have to be determined whether KMG, The Fire Ball’s manufacturer, failed to use proper corrosion preventative techniques. It would also need to be determined whether ride operators and/or inspectors could have been able to detect the corrosion before the ride collapsed. Of course, these questions would only be asked if corrosion actually was to blame for the accident—a theory not yet confirmed. In his statement on Sunday, Kroon said KMG has collaborated with “industry safety experts to develop an inspection protocol” to prevent future accidents from occurring.
Filing a Lawsuit for Injuries Sustained on a Ride at a Local or State Fair
If you are injured at a local festival, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The laws that control what you might be entitled to depend heavily on the specific place you were injured. State law generally defines when and how people can sue for amusement park or fair injuries.
Most states across the country allow patrons to sue for serious injuries if the owners or operators of the ride were negligent. “Negligence” means that the at-fault party’s actions fell below the expected level of care, causing you injury. If you are a guest at an amusement park, fair, or festival, you expect that the owners and operators of the ride took the proper care to ensure the ride will be safe. You also expect that state inspectors carefully reviewed and ensured the ride’s safety. If these parties failed to do their duty, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Especially with a ride that has a known history of being unsafe or requiring additional inspections, simply running the ride may itself be negligent.
If you were injured, you may be able to seek various types of compensation. First, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses. Especially if the ride leaves you in critical condition, you may face expensive medical bills. Compensation for things like emergency transportation, surgery, X-Rays, and rehabilitation may be available. If you missed work or are unable to return to work because of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover those lost wages. Lastly, you might be entitled to direct compensation for your pain and suffering. This money would be available on top of other compensation, like medical bills.
Talk to an attorney about the specific rules of your state to see what damages a personal injury lawsuit could entitle you to.
Contact an Amusement Park Injury Attorney Today
Since 2010, there have been 22 fatalities associated with amusement park attractions. If you or a loved one have been injured in an amusement park accident, don’t hesitate to get help from an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and the attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm will fight to make sure you get it. Our skilled advocates have extensive experience litigating amusement park injury cases and we will ensure that negligent third parties are held accountable. Call today for a free consultation with one of our Philadelphia amusement park injury lawyers on your amusement park injury case at (215) 709-6940.