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There’s Almost Nobody Keeping You Safe In Amusement Parks And Carnivals


When you go to an amusement park or carnival, you are flown around, often at high speeds, over great distances. You do this with the assumption that the steel contraption you are in is safe, and that someone is constantly investigating it, the same way that the government might investigate, say, elevators, or airplanes.

But you may be surprised to learn that there is a lack of government oversight when it comes to amusement parks and carnivals, and that when you do opt to go to an amusement park, you are very much “on your own” when it comes to safety.

Two Kinds of Parks

Amusement parks are really broken down into two separate categories. Some parks are fixed. Imagine Disney World, or Universal studios. They are permanent fixtures.

Then, there are the traveling carnivals, the ones that set up, operate for a few days, and then move on to another location.

The federal government can only play a small role in the oversight, inspection or regulation of the permanent parks, because they are permanent. Congress has limited authority to regulate objects or attractions that are in a single state, and remain in that state.

They do have more authority to regulate traveling amusement parks—but even there, the federal government has taken a hands off approach, largely because of the influence of the amusement park industry.

For its part, amusement parks say that no federal regulation is needed. They say that most amusement parks are safe, and when there is an accident, they contend it is largely based on the error of the riders.

States Don’t Do Much Better

This leaves most amusement park regulation up to the states, resulting in a patchwork of laws and regulations, and inconsistency in safety as you travel from state to state. Many states have no laws at all that address or require safety standards for amusement parks, and the ones that do, often have laws that most industry analysis find to be insufficient or incomplete.

The states that do have safety regulations often simply draft regulations that adopt suggestions that are put out by private safety organizations or consumer watchdog groups.

No Reporting Requirements

The lack of government laws and oversight doesn’t just affect safety—it affects consumer knowledge.

One thing that government regulations would do, if they existed, is require parks to report incident and accident rates, so the general public knows whether a park is safe or not. But without those, consumers are left to the park’s own decisions to self-report accidents that happen on their premises.

Suing With No Regulations in Place

One thing to remember is that if you are injured at an amusement park, and the amusement park was, in fact, negligent or careless, you can sue for compensation for your injuries. You do not need an actual written government regulation, in order to sue.

This is at least one incentive that amusement parks have, to try to maintain their parks in a safe manner. While they may be able to stop government oversight, they will not be able to stop victims seeking to hold amusement parks responsible in court.

Call the West Palm Beach injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help if you have been injured in an amusement park or carnival.




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