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Who is Responsible for Carnival Ride Injuries in Illinois?

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Amusement park owners and ride operators may be held liable for accidents and injuries if they don’t adhere to strict compliance with laws and regulations.

Carnival Ride Accidents

In Illinois, safety should be the main priority for Amusement Park owners and ride operators, but safety for visitors often falls through the cracks. According to the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 8,000 people, including 4000 children, were injured on amusement park and carnival rides in 2008.

Roller coasters account for the most injuries and deaths followed by rides that whirl or spin. Injuries to young children account for 50% of serious injuries and deaths on amusement park rides. In 2011, a three-year-old boy suffered a fatal head injury at the Chicago Go Bananas Amusement Park. While riding a roller coaster called the Giant Python, the boy slid under the safety bar and fell out of the roller coaster. Illinois personal injury lawyers commonly address safety issues regarding size and height requirements for small children on carnival rides.

Determining Liability for Injuries

When accidents and injuries occur on carnival rides, claims for injuries often fall under premises liability laws. When a personal injury lawyer examines a premise liability case, he or she will consider numerous factors that may have caused injuries including:

  • Improper maintenance
  • Mechanical failures
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Incorrect weight/height requirements
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Negligent actions of the ride operator

Although state laws regulating carnival and amusement park rides can vary with jurisdiction, federal laws apply to all safety regulations. Illinois amusement park operations are governed under the Carnival and Amusement Rides Safety Act. This act requires all Illinois amusement parks with rides to operate under a permit. To obtain a permit, an official inspection of all equipment is required prior to the initial operation and once a year thereafter.

Amusement rides that require inspection include carnival rides, carousels, go-kart tracks, ride simulators, ski lifts, trains, trams and rope tows, mechanical bulls, power trampolines, climbing walls, inflatable attractions, dry slides, and haunted houses. If injuries occur, amusement park owners, as well as ride operators can be held liable for injuries and related medical expenses. If negligent actions caused the accident, owners and operators can face steep monetary fines, loss of operating permits, and amusement park closure.

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