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Crowds and Amusement Parks Returning to Amusement Parks Across the Country: Legal Rights of Guests and Legal Responsibilities of Amusement Park Operators and Owners

By Will Brown, Attorney & David Wolf, Attorney Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Amusement parks in Ohio and nationwide that has taken a hit over the past few years due to the economic downturn are finally starting to bounce back. Crowds increased at many amusement parks in 2010; Six Flags Entertainment Corp. based in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. based in Sundusky, Ohio both reported an increase in attendance nationwide. Other regional parks also experienced modest gains.

Gary Slade, editor and publisher of Amusement Today said that parks are spending more money on new rides and attractions this year than the previous season. Bush Gardens in Tampa, Florida and Six Flags located in Georgia are opening new roller coaster attractions, and several other theme parks are making new additions to their water rides.

The increase in attendance at amusement parks is likely to cause an increase in personal injuries to both park riders as well as bystanders. While some participants will incur minor injuries such as bruises and skin abrasions, others will not be so lucky and will end up with serious injuries such as broken bones, head and spinal injuries and sometimes even death can occur.

If you have been injured at an amusement park there are some factors to take into consideration in order to make a successful legal claim. First, you must prove your injuries were caused by another person that is a member of the amusement park staff or management. Second, the amusement park injury should be caused by either direct/indirect negligence of that amusement park. Lastly, you should report the injury as soon as possible; the more time that goes by the more the park can cast doubt on your injury.

Amusement park owners should provide all ride operators and other employees with enough training so they understand ride restrictions, all warnings necessary to safely participate in the ride, crowd control methods, and company policy for potentially hazardous situations. Park owners are legally responsible to third parties for the acts their employees that are within the scope of employment.

The best ways to prevent personal injury at an amusement park is to exercise good judgment and common sense. Other tips include: always follow posted height, weight, and age restrictions; seat small children on the inside of the ride away from open sides; and make sure a ride has adequate restraints for your child’s age and size. For more information on this topic, see Thrill is back, so are crowds at amusement parks.