First Steps
Take Notes
Preserve Evidence and Take Photos
Police Reports
After a Car Accident
Contact a Lawyer
Accident & Injury Law
Personal Injury Law - The Basics
Proving Fault
Economic Recovery for Injuries
Time Limits for Bringing a Case
Claims Against the Government
Law in your states
A through D
F through I
K through M
N through O
P through T
U through W
Amusement Ride Accidents

Roller Coaster Pitfalls

The National Consumer Product Safety Commission (NCPSA) approximates that over 270,000,000 people visit amusement parks each year in the United States. An average of 7,000 of these individuals are treated in emergency rooms for injuries they sustained in amusement ride accidents.

Whenever you hear of a serious or fatal accident associated with an amusement ride, it is natural to ask, "How many people are hurt on amusement rides each year?" Unfortunately, the answer is, "Well, we aren't very sure, but we don't think it is a lot."

The difficulty is that there is no comprehensive source for amusement ride accident data. No federal law or national agency requires all amusement ride operators in every state to file accident reports. Nationally, most regulated parks are required to report accidents to their regulating state agency and/or their insurance company. However, the reporting requirements are not uniform and the information is generally not available to the public. Nonetheless, some information is available.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does have jurisdiction over mobile rides, as well as a general interest in overall ride safety. Also, most catastrophic accidents receive media coverage. Thus, there is generally enough information to provide a broad sense of amusement ride safety and a more specific sense of catastrophic risk.

The CPSC maintains the most comprehensive data on amusement ride accidents. They document amusement ride fatalities and estimate amusement ride injuries. Data on non-fatal injuries from amusement rides are difficult to obtain and often do not exist. The CPSC estimates injuries based on surveys of hospital emergency rooms. Data on deaths associated with amusement rides are more precise and easier to obtain than are data on injuries. The CPSC documents actual deaths. Their fatality data are not estimates.

In Morrison Co., Minnesota, a grade school teacher asked by amusement park associates to help unhook students at the end of a zip-line lost balance and fell into ravine while trying to unharness teenager. She was awarded over $4,000,000 for her injuries.