Unfortunately, amusement parks and theme parks are not all fun and games. Serious and often tragic accidents happen at traveling carnivals, portable inflatable attractions, and fixed-site amusements such as roller coasters. If equipment is not properly maintained or operators are not properly trained, aren’t attentive or fail to enforce rules regarding height, age, behavior or health, injuries can and do often occur.
Too often, rule enforcement, under-trained or understaffed workers, and poorly maintained equipment can all play a role in amusement park injuries. Most amusement park accidents must be reported to regulatory authorities. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks statistics for all amusement ride accidents. Accidents usually fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Negligence on the part of the park, such as lack of proper equipment maintenance or operator training;
- Health issues affecting the guest;
- Negligence on the part of the guest, such as refusal to follow safety instructions;
- Acts of God or generic accidents, such as slipping and falling, that are not a direct result of negligence on anybody’s part.
All of Florida’s major theme parks—which include the Walt Disney World Resort, Sea World Orlando, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens Africa — report quarterly details surrounding accidents and other incidents at their parks that are fatal or that required the victim to stay overnight at a hospital. Employees injured at the parks are not reported.