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Pennsylvania Amusement Park, Fair, and Carnival Injuries

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Many people enjoy Pennsylvania’s amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals in the summer. Before you decide to enjoy any of the rides, you should take a moment to learn more about Pennsylvania’s state agency that regulates these rides to maintain safety.

Although it’s impossible for any governmental agency to ensure that injuries or accidents will never happen, many Pennsylvanians are calling for stronger federal regulations after a Fire Ball spinning ride recently killed an 18-year-old high school student and injured seven others at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.

Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Rides and Measurements Standards, a division of the Department of Agriculture, learned that the owner of the Fire Ball isn’t registered to operate in the State of Pennsylvania. The Bureau also contacted the registered owner-operators of these rides with the purpose of ordering them not to operate such rides in Pennsylvania until the investigation of the Ohio incident is completed.

After the passage of the Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Act (1984), the advisory board meets each quarter to consider new attractions and rides seeking to operate in the state. An approved ride or attraction owner-operator must register with the Bureau of Rides and Measurement Standards. After approval, the owner-operator must provide an itinerary of events and submit an inspection affidavit for each 30-day period or when the ride moves to a new venue, whichever is sooner.

The bureau licenses approximately 1,600 inspectors. These individuals work for the owner-operators but must pass written tests, obtain continuing education credits on safe ride operations and submit to oversight by the bureau’s supervisor and three inspectors.

According to the bureau, it monitors about 9,300 attractions and rides—more than any other U.S. state or foreign country. It monitors roller coaster rides, water slides, climbing walls, trampoline parks, wave pools, zip lines, Ferris wheels and more. Despite the bureau’s best efforts to maintain safety with limited staff, accidents happen. Last year, the bureau says it received more than 800 injury reports.

If you or someone you love has been injured at a fair, amusement park, or carnival, here’s what you should know:

1. The owner-operator and the venue at which the ride is operating have a legal responsibility to maintain the property in safe condition.

2. If an individual suffers an injury at the venue, and that injury could have been avoided had the venue taken reasonable steps to prevent such injuries, the injured individual has the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the venue and/or the owner-operator for compensation.

3. Answering the question of “Who’s responsible for my amusement park injury?” requires a consultation with an experienced personal injury law firm.

4. The legal responsibility for your injury may rest with the venue owner, the owner-operator of the ride, the designer-manufacturer of the ride, or another entity.

5. When the decision is reached to file a legal claim to recover compensation for your amusement park injury, your personal injury law firm may decide to file against one or more of the potential defendants.

Common amusement park, carnival, or fair injuries include:

• Slip and fall accidents, resulting in broken bones, contusions, concussions, or other injuries.

• Serious injuries, resulting in spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), amputations, and other devastating injuries.

• Drowning or near-drowning accidents, resulting from poorly maintained and unsafe water rides.

Contact the Pennsylvania amusement park injury lawyers at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. in Pittsburgh if you have been injured in a Pennsylvania amusement park at 412.766.1455 now.

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