A fun weekend outing at a traveling carnival or fair is supposed to be fun and relaxing. However, these popular attractions are notorious for poor safety practices. Since regulation and enforcement of safety has been left to states, holding mobile amusements accountable for the injuries can be difficult. Traveling carnival rides are hard to monitor due to their transient nature. The fact they are constantly being set up and broken down then moved to another location, begs the question regarding the inspection and safety mechanisms implemented every time assembly of equipment is needed. Lawsuits against travel carnivals or fairs can be challenging because these are short time events that come into your state to entertain a community. Their continuity and profits don’t depend on their reputation in the local market since by the time people learn about the injuries, the traveling carnival or fair is gone.
Our team of Philadelphia amusement park injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm help victims and families of those injured in carnival and travel fair accidents fight for compensation. Call today for a free consultation at (215) 246-9000.
What to Do If You Were Injured at a Traveling Carnival or Fair
The fact that they don’t operate in the state permanently doesn’t mean they cannot be legally responsible for failing to ensure all rides and areas are safe for patrons. Here is what you can do if you or a family member suffered injuries at a traveling carnival or fair in Pennsylvania.
Filing a Claim with the Insurance Carrier
The first step should be to look into the level of insurance coverage this particular travel carnival or fair has. Most states will not allow traveling fairs to operate without insurance. You can begin by pursuing all legal recourse or causes of action through the insurance company.
Legal Action Against Those at Fault
There are individual state offices dedicated to ride safety, encouraging communication among the states and the federal government, and identifying unsafe mobile amusement rides and preventing future deaths and injuries on a national level. There are also instances when a travel carnival or fair has a history of complaints filed with other agencies.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has jurisdiction over the mobile rides that move from place to place, states and local communities are responsible for inspections and oversight. State safety inspectors will work with CPSC to ensure the rides operate safely.”
For example, in Pennsylvania, the Department of Agriculture (PDA) oversees the safety of amusement parks and rides. Their guidelines require a safety inspection of every amusement attraction or ride, whether traveling or fixed, before it opens to the public. The PDA also requires follow-up inspections every 30 days or each time the carnival staff disassembles, moves, and reassembles the ride.
For example, if your injury occurred on a ride or attraction that PDA inspected, we can hold the inspector liable for the accident and your injuries. In most carnival injury accidents, however, safety inspections may not have identified the problem. Operator error, misconduct, and fatigue are frequently to blame for these accidents. If this happened in your case, we will hold the carnival company responsible.
Lawsuits for Faulty Design, Assembly, Repairs, and Maintenance of Machinery
There are potential lawsuits for negligence and product liability against the amusement park owners and operators as well as the manufacturer or assembler of the ride itself. The amusement park is responsible for the actions of its employees. These defendants may be negligent in not being reasonably careful or in failing to take reasonable safety precautions including the posting of signs to inform the users of the risks involved. Training ride operators and maintaining the equipment also is part of the business of running an amusement park or rides because even one faulty part or the faulty design of a ride can cause serious injury or wrongful death.
Premises liability also may come into play if the park itself is unsafe for its users. Amusement park owners must exercise reasonable care in the construction, management and maintenance of all grounds and the facilities for visitors.
It can be argued that amusement park rides can be considered “‘common carriers” that invokes a legal doctrine that would impose tougher liability standards in court.
That means that the operator must use the highest degree of care for passengers. Illinois state statute governs safety inspections of traveling or temporary carnivals as well as of fixed rides like Six Flags through the creation of a five-member board appointed by the governor. 430 ILCS 85/2-3 (2015). Illinois law has long deemed amusement park ride operators common carriers who owe the highest degree of care to their passengers. Riders in some states have sued in a contract stating that in buying a ticket, a contractual relationship was formed between the two parties. The amusement park will argue that they printed a disclaimer on the ticket that absolves them of liability; however, aside from people not reading these disclaimers and the vague, all-inclusive language it contains, judges generally will examine the facts to determine if the disclaimer is unreasonable under the particular facts. Generally, though, negligence is the standard by which most lawyers sue in state court on behalf of plaintiffs. This may allow damages for one’s injury, as well as lost wages, medical bills and future medical care, pain and suffering and perhaps even emotional distress caused by a horrific incident.
What Happens If I Sign a Release of Liability Form or Contract?
Most traveling carnival or fairs that include A skilled attorney will be able to recognize these tactics. Pennsylvania courts typically reject the validity of unscrupulous contracts, especially when the goal is to pretend there is no responsibility for the health and safety risks and injuries negligence creates.
Can I Sue If I Had Some Responsibility for the Accident?
Pennsylvania follows a rule known as the “comparative negligence” or “51 percent rule.” If you’re injured in Pennsylvania and you were partly responsible for the injuries, your negligence or oversight doesn’t have to bar recovery of damages. However, the other party’s level of responsibility must be higher than yours by 51 percent.
Philadelphia Amusement Park Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or someone you know has been injured at a travel carnival or fair in Pennsylvania, you should talk to an attorney to learn what are the best course of action. The team of personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have helped countless victims of personal injuries. Call (215) 246-9000to schedule an appointment to talk to members of our experienced team of lawyers who are best prepared to review and answer your legal questions.