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Are Amusement Park Rides Really Not Regulated?

Published on Dec 8, 2016 at 11:39 am in Personal Injury.

When we go to an amusement park with our families, we trust that our children will be safe while enjoying the various rides and attractions on the premises. It’s easy to assume that most rides look safe and that the operators know what they’re doing. We’re also often told that amusement park rides are thoroughly checked and tested every morning. But are daily tests enough?

In August 2016, a Kansas water park made headlines when it was revealed that a 10-year-old boy was decapitated and killed on a water slide. This accident was one of four serious amusement park accidents that occurred over a period of 5 days throughout the United States. Another tragic accident during that period happened when a boy fell from a moving roller coaster in Pennsylvania.

Some accidents are close to home. Back in 2007, Louisville’s Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom was the site of another horrific amusement park accident. A 13-year-old girl lost both her feet when they were severed after a ride cable split. These types of accidents are bound to happen on an occasional basis, but there comes a time when we question what’s being done to bring the number of possible accidents down to an absolute minimum.

Asking the Difficult Questions About Amusement Park Safety  

Here’s something to consider: Why don’t media outlets talk about numerical U.S. amusement park accident statistics when covering news stories like the cases above? Why aren’t amusement parks outlining how they prevent accidents and how they’re making parks safer for our children?

The answer to these questions is simple. Amusement parks aren’t required to release any data regarding how many accidents occur or even why they occur. The media doesn’t talk about accident statistics because there aren’t any available. Amusement parks, unbelievably, are not regulated on a federal level when it comes to safety standards. This means that they’re not required to release any type of safety data or even adhere to nationwide safety guidelines.

Amusement parks are instead regulated on a state level. As such, every state has its own policies regarding how accidents are investigated and if they’re even investigated by the government at all. Some states offer no government investigations. Other states—like Kentucky for example—do, but the regulations in place do not always impact how major amusement park chains are operated.

If amusement parks aren’t required to report accident data or hold investigations after incidents, how can we know these rides are safe? It’s no secret that the U.S. amusement park industry is a billion-dollar industry. It’s a $12 billion-dollar industry to be exact. That’s a ton of profit to be made. If too many accidents and/or unsafe conditions were revealed, park owners and financial stakeholders may try and hide that information to protect their profit margins.

This potentially creates a situation where the rides we trust to be safe end up riskier and more dangerous than they could be. Amusement park owners and ride engineers must prioritize the safety of our children. Any other option simply isn’t acceptable. To ensure this, national regulations and regularly-released amusement park accident data would both help tremendously.

If you or a loved one has been injured on an amusement park ride in the state of Kentucky, you owe it to yourself and your family to take legal action. Doing so may help send the above vital message to amusement park corporations as well as the national government. A successful lawsuit may also enable your family to recover from a tragedy that should not have occurred in the first place.

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Thomas Law Offices today. We can pair you with you an experienced Louisville, KY personal injury lawyer who can tell you if filing a lawsuit is in your best interest as well as walk you through every step of the filing process. These types of lawsuits can be difficult to fight in court, but together we can make a difference and protect our children.


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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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