HM Insights

What to do if you are involved in a theme park or fairground accident

This summer has seen a significant number of media reports of theme park casualties, both in the UK and worldwide. In the last few months, those reports have ranged from colliding roller coaster vehicles to malfunctioning log flumes and faulty “slingshot” rides.

Rollercoaster Theme Park Ride Accident Injury

Theme park accidents have the potential to affect both riders and bystanders and in some unfortunate cases result in serious injury or even fatalities.

Who is to blame?

Owners of theme parks owe a duty to those attending their venues. They have a duty to ensure that health and safety guidelines are followed and that risks are minimised to their lowest possible level. When it comes to rides, owners must ensure that the attractions are inspected and maintained regularly whilst undergoing rigorous tests to ensure that they meet the required safety standard. Inspection and maintenance logs should be kept up to date at all times.

If negligence results in an accident, whether that is on a ride or within the grounds of the park, the injured victim(s) may seek compensation from the theme park owners for the injury sustained as well as any other losses such as out of pocket expenses.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, who you can seek compensation from may differ.

The most common defenders are:

  • Park owners when accidents occur due to employee/operator behaviour (vicarious liability)
  • Park owners when accident occurs due to failure to inspect, maintain and repair rides
  • Ride architects and manufacturers when an accident occurs due to a design fault

In some cases, there may be joint defenders – most likely the theme park owners and the ride manufacturer.

Common compensation claims

The most common claims against theme parks are:

  • Failure to keep the amusement park ride in a safe condition through proper maintenance and inspection
  • Failure to give clear and proper instructions
  • Negligent operation of the ride
  • Failing to warn riders of health issues associated with ride
  • Failure to keep surrounding areas of attractions safe – those areas may include walkways and queuing areas
  • Inherently dangerous designs
  • Falls and slips
  • Food poisoning in theme park establishments

What should you do if you suffer illness or an accident?

  • Report your illness or accident to a staff member immediately and ensure it is entered into an accident report book
  • Take photographs if possible
  • Note down the contact details of any witnesses
  • Keep any receipts for out-of-pocket expenses

How we can help

If you do suffer injury it is important that you seek legal advice from a specialist firm such as ours that has experience of pursuing such matters. Failure to do so could result in a lack of rehabilitation and your case being undervalued.