Articles Posted in Fair & Amusement Park Accidents

Reversing two lower courts, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled recently that a customer pursuing litigation against an indoor water park can proceed to trial with his case, despite having signed a waiver of liability prior to the accident. The ruling is a victory not just for plaintiff in Steinberg v. Sahara Sam’s Oasis, but for others injured despite having signed a liability waiver. It signals that a waiver isn’t the absolute line in the sand that defendants uphold it to be. waterpark

The state high court, in ruling the plaintiff could go on with his case, ruled that a reasonable juror could conclude the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries was gross negligence on the part of the defendant.

Although liability waivers are becoming increasingly common, this case shows they are not impenetrable. One of the circumstances under which a plaintiff can sidestep a liability waiver is by asserting gross negligence, as opposed to simple negligence. Whereas negligence is merely a failure to use reasonable care, gross negligence is the conscious and voluntary disregard for the need to use reasonable care in a circumstance that is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property or both.  Continue reading

Late last year, a woman filed a lawsuit against Dollywood, a theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment.amusementparkswing

Now, the Tennessee defendants in Brown v. Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. have fired back, alleging plaintiff is to blame for her own injuries. Where plaintiff asserts the park is negligent for failure to maintain a working lock mechanism on a motorized swing ride, defense asserts plaintiff voluntarily left the ride before it was finished, jumping to the ground and causing her own injuries.

Although this kind of defense – known as comparative fault – is a challenge that is often raised in personal injury lawsuits across the country, it can be especially damaging here in North Carolina. That’s because we, along with just three other states plus the District of Columbia, adhere to a system of pure contributory negligence. Under this principle, plaintiff may not recover damages if his negligence proximately caused his injury. This is true even when defendant shares more of the blame than plaintiff. Continue reading

Victims who suffer injuries are often in recovery long after the headlines fade. The victims of an October 2013 North Carolina State Fair accident are still in recovery after being severely injured on the “Vortex” ride. While it’s been a year since the accident, the family remains in recovery after suffering permanent and debilitating injuries. According to local reports, the family injured while at the state fair included a woman, her husband, their son, and their niece. Despite being released from the hospital since the accident, all of the victims are still under doctor’s care.


Last October, the family arrived at the state fair to enjoy the festivities, but the night quickly turned tragic. According to eyewitnesses, the riders fell approximately 30 feet. They were initially unconscious but then regained consciousness before being taken away by paramedics. According to investigators, a key safety mechanism was tampering with, leaving victims at risk of serious injury or wrongful death.
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Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers know that companies will try to avoid liability for negligent conduct by having customers agree to lengthy and confusing liability waivers.

climbing-the-wall-288569-m.jpgIn Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc., an Alaska case, the plaintiff signed up for a beginner rock climbing class at a local gym. The gym was designed to simulate a rock-climbing environment, as the walls were made to look like rocks with various hand and footholds attached.

The plaintiff was no stranger to risky physical activities, both while exercising and at work. According to the record, she had worked in construction and on a commercial fishing boat. She had also gone kite boarding, which is considered a dangerous activity.
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In 2010, the airshow industry celebrated its 100th year anniversary. But several tragedies this year have our Statesville injury lawyers concerned about the safety of performers and spectators alike. Airshow events can be breathtaking, but they have been proven to be fatal in recent months. Airshow organizers need to take every precaution during the planning, set-up and performance phases to ensure public and performer safety.
The Charlotte Observer reports that organizers of the upcoming Monroe airshow intend to do just that. With more than 100,000 spectators expected, organizers want to reduce the risk of injury at the North Carolina airshow event by being prepared, unlike other shows that have resulted in tragic events. Two people who performed in last year’s Monroe airshow were killed at separate events in May and September. We are also reminded of the recent Reno event that killed a pilot and 10 spectators.

A 2010 airshow accident report indicates that last year was the worst safety year throughout the history of airshow events. The annual average of airshow accidents since 2001 has been 24, with the most accidents happening in 2010 with 31 reported incidents. In 2010, 84 people were injured or killed at airshows throughout the world. The United States reported the most number of accidents of any country at six. Loss of control was the most common factor leading to an airshow accident.

Spectator safety is becoming a growing concern in recent years. In 2010, there were a total of 48 spectators injured and one death at airshows worldwide. In addition, there were seven public injuries sustained by people not even in attendance at the show.

There are certain regulations that need to be followed in order to protect anyone viewing the show from getting hurt. One is clearly identifying a safe distance line in which spectators are not permitted to cross and should be policed if any attempt is made. A safety line doesn’t help prevent injury when a pilot loses control of the plane but it can help in keeping injuries to a minimum if spectators stay in a designated area away from take-off and landing areas. Federal aviation officials must inspect the course and also the spectator viewing area before every airshow takes place. All pilots must also demonstrate their competence before they are allowed to participate in the show.

Naval Air Station Lemoore offers these tips for spectator safety:

-Stay alert. There is a lot of action taking place at airshows with large machinery and other dangerous objects that can cause severe injury.

-Avoid walking in the field area where planes are taking off, landing or performing stunts.

-Be careful where you walk. Trip hazards like aircraft tie-downs or tent ropes are a danger to spectators who don’t see them.

-Airshows are loud, so be prepared by bringing earplugs.

-When you arrive at the show, search for the nearest emergency tent or medical treatment center so you know where it is, just in case.

-Look for posted signs that pertain to safety and follow the advice.

-Supervise small children at all times by keeping them close and not allowing them to touch displays.
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This time of year is filled with all sorts of events like Pumpkinfest, sweet potato festivals, Oktoberfest, street fairs, and holiday extravaganzas throughout North Carolina. Though these events can be fun and entertaining, there are certain risks involved while you’re there.
Our Greensboro injury lawyers want to remind fair-goers who are injured at these events to get advice from an experienced law firm so you can be compensated fairly for any injuries you might obtain. Event coordinators and organizers have a responsibility to protect the public from freak accidents or injuries. Often, these are cases of premise liability caused by negligence on their part.

We posted earlier this month on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that South Carolina State Fair representatives were going to take extra precautions this year to prevent accidents and injuries with the installation of a high-tech camera that would offer around-the-clock surveillance of activities during the fair.

Maybe the camera will help determine the cause of an accident on the “Banzai” ride that injured six people. The teens who sustained injuries from a ride accident at the South Carolina State Fair did not need to be hospitalized. But each of them was treated at the on-site first-aid center for cuts, bruises and a shoulder injury.

WSPA reports that the defective ride that caused the injury had been inspected earlier in the week, but inspectors from the State Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation are trying to determine what caused a metal piece to break off the ride. The piece of metal broke into smaller piece and hit the deck, which caused the injuries. It is a requirement that state fair rides are inspected and certified by a professional prior to each event and then on a daily basis by the rides’ owners. Inspectors from the Department of Labor are investigating to make sure all protocol was followed during the certified inspection a few days earlier.

The Bonzai ride accident isn’t the only serious accident that caused severe injury to a fair-goer recently. WCTI 12 reported about a helicopter malfunction at a Chili Festival in Craven County that caused four people to be rushed to the hospital. The helicopter had been on display all day and was about to do a scheduled take-off when the prop wash from the helicopter’s rotors blew over tables and tents, injuring several people. Some witnesses described the accident like a tornado that appeared out of nowhere, blowing tables and chairs everywhere and causing complete chaos. One spectator witnessed the man-made windstorm move a moonwalk attraction containing several children inside across the ground towards the highway. Some of the injuries to spectators included a broken leg, head injuries, severe cuts with heavy bleeding, and a man knocked unconscious.

Events like these can be quite scary. Putting your faith and trust in the event coordinators to keep you safe is to be expected, but keep in mind you do have rights when an injury occurs at a fair, carnival, festival or other public event.
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A fatal fall from the Ferris wheel at the Greensboro Youth Council Carnival marked the first North Carolina carnival injury in nearly 10 years, according to News & Record.

Investigators have so far revealed that the accident injured one other worker. A malfunctioning cable is suspected to have caused the accident, according to Greensboro police Cpl. Mike Matthews.
Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys understand that these entertaining attractions can be dangerous for both workers and visitors. Injuries often result from carnival visits as there are dangers lurking around every corner. Rides are put together and taken apart in a matter of hours, while wires and cords line the ground to power the music and lights.

The fall reportedly happened a short time before 2 a.m. in the Greensboro Coliseum’s parking lot. The two men were at different ends of the ride they were dismantling.

Both workers involved in the accident were taken to Moses Cone Hospital. One worker was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the other remains in critical condition.

After the accident, workers were required to answer questions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and police investigators.

The Greensboro Youth Council Carnival attracts roughly 50,000 visitors each year and offers about 25 different rides. Last weekend markedthe carnival’s sixth annual event.

The Ferris wheel was built in 1965. It is the only reproduction made of the Seattle Wheel, which was built when the city hosted the 1962 World Fair. The Ferris wheel is 90 feet tall and has 16 separate buckets. It was reported to have been renovated in the late 1990s. It has been in operation and on the road since June 2000.

In North Carolina, the rides of traveling amusement parks are required to be inspected by the state Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau every time they are put together and set up for use.

OSHA hasn’t had to issue any citations to the company since 1972, which was the first year citations were tracked, according Neal O’Briant, spokesman for the Department of Labor’s OSHA division.

The carnival is now headed to Roanoke, Va., for a fair that starts Wednesday evening.

We recognize the summer months are popular for these entertaining attractions, but all fair-goers are urged to practice caution.
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As summer approaches, our personal injury lawyers in Spartanburg, Anderson and Greenville want to remind you of the risks for personal injury that can occur at amusement parks. Entertainment facilities have an obligation to their guests to make the parks safe from Washington Post.
A youth group from a Baptist church in Gaffney headed to the Cleveland Park for some opening day fun. One of the first activities the group wanted to do was take a miniature train ride. Sixteen of the almost 30 passengers on the train were from the church group. Witnesses reported that on the third lap of the trip the train appeared to have sped up and as it went over a bridge suddenly derailed. It was reported that nearly everyone on board sustained injuries but 15 children and 2 adults were injured badly enough to require a trip to the hospital.

The 6 year-old that was killed in the crash was the son of the pastor of the church. The victim’s two older brothers were also injured, including broken bones and wounds requiring surgery. The pastor and his wife experienced minor injuries from the train accident.

The engineer of the nearly 60-year-old train has made many conflicting statements since the crash. He had initially told police that he was going too fast. Next he felt the cause of the crash was a mechanical error and blamed the park for not maintaining the tracks.

A spokeswoman for Spartanburg County parks disputes the statement from the engineer. She said the railroad tracks receive regular safety inspections and the train was out of commission last year for refurbishment by the engineer.

Needless to say, a lawsuit has been filed against South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Spartanburg County, and its parks commission for negligence in the accident.

The lawsuit contends that employees of the park should have told the train passengers of the risk involved with the ride. Safety of the train should have been determined by state officials prior to its operation.

An inspector was fired by state officials for submitting a false inspection report. It was learned that the day of the inspection the train’s battery was dead, so the ride could not be tested, according to media reports.
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A Carolina fair accident injured two girls at the Coastal Carolina Fair, NBC2 reported.

Recently, our North Carolina wrongful death lawyers reported that a ride maintenance technician was killed at the state fair. Traveling fairs are notorious for poor safety records and equipment maintenance. It’s important for anyone hurt in a fair accident to make a police report and to consult an injury attorney right away. Documenting the accident and who was involved is an important step toward protecting your rights. These operations move, and ride and game operators join and leave the traveling show frequently.

In this case, two girls were injured shortly before midnight Monday when they were hit by debris while standing in line on the Midway. The accident happened at the Scooter ride when a trolley wheel from the nearby Zipper ride flew off and hit them. The wheel hit one girl in the shoulder, before glancing off and striking a 16-year-old girl in the head. That victim was admitted to Trident Medical Center.

The ride was shut down and inspected before reopening Tuesday afternoon. A fair spokesman characterized in as an isolated incident. The South Carolina Department of Labor was notified. The ride was reportedly inspected by both inspectors from the company operating the rides and by Coastal Carolina Fair inspectors.
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