Ride safe and avoid having to make a claim for personal injury compensation
Summer's approaching and one of the favourite British pastimes, along with visiting the seaside, is to spend a day at a theme park. Whether it's Chessington World of Adventures, Thorpe Park or Alton Towers, we can't wait to seek out a couple of buy-one-get-one-free tickets, pack the kids into the back of the car and head for the closest haven of fast rides and amusements.
Theme parks throughout the modern world are in competition to create the fastest, highest and scariest rides but, despite stringent health safety tests that take place before members of the public are allowed onto these rides, personal injury compensation claims are still at large.
In order to make sure that their rides are in good working order, officials from reputable theme parks check all rides on a daily basis. Each morning before the rides open and each morning after they close staff will usually inspect roller coaster tracks as well another important elements such as cables and chains.
The smallest of faults could cause a theme park accident. This could not only cause serious personal injuries or death but also lead to thousands of personal injury compensation claims being made against the theme park.
The Health and Safety Executive has the authority to close a ride or an entire theme park if an investigation shows it to be unsafe.
Theme park accident injuries
If you are involved in a theme park accident or any ride-related incident you could be at risk of sustaining the following personal injuries:
- Broken limbs
- Chest injuries and broken ribs
- Brain injuries including haemorrhages and blood clots
- Neck injuries including whiplash
- Back injuries including spinal cord injury
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), around 9,200 people were treated for personal injuries after ride-related accidents in 1998. An estimated 50% of these accidents occurred at amusement parks, just over 2,000 happened at travelling carnivals and the rest were at unknown origins.
Also, 43 riders were killed in ride-related accidents between 1987 and 1997 and 58 employees were involved in fatal work accidents. Such statistics are a lot lower for the UK although we have had our fair share of horrific accidents.
Theme park accidents in the UK
In 2000 there was an accident at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. One train ploughed into another at the loading station of the Pepsi Max Big One as a result of brake failure. Fourteen people sustained injuries including broken ribs and limbs.
In the same year, two cars on the Treetop Twister ride at Lightwater Valley Theme Park in North Yorkshire collided. Three riders were thrown against safety barriers and sustained whiplash among other injuries. A woman was also taken to Leeds General Infirmary by helicopter after suffering serious head injuries and spinal injuries. The ride was only installed the previous month after receiving certification from the Health and Safety Executive who carried out an investigation after the accident.
2006 saw two attraction accidents hit the headlines in close succession. The first was an accident which occurred at Alton Towers and left 29 people with personal injuries. The front part of the Runaway Mine Train, which had 46 people onboard, became separated from the rest of the ride and two riders were so badly injured that they had to be airlifted to hospital.
In response to the accident, a spokeswoman for Alton Towers said, "The health and safety of our guests is our primary objective. The ride has been closed and will remain so whilst a thorough investigation is carried out." She also stressed that it was their policy to check each ride at the beginning and end of each day.
Another tragic incident in Durham saw two women die, a three-year-old girl ended up with serious personal injuries and 30 visitors were tipped out when an inflatable art instillation was tossed 30 feet up into the air by the wind. Dreamspace, the 50m by 50m installation, was the work of international artist Maurice Agis who tried desperately to cling to his masterpiece as it took off.
Dangers to theme park staff
It's not just theme-park visitors that are at risk of sustaining serious personal injury or worse; at theme parks staff are at a heightened risk of fatal accidents at work.
The most recent ride-related accident to occur was at Legoland in Denmark in April 2007. After a guest lost his wallet while riding on a Lego roller coaster, the 21-year-old employee nipped over a safety fence to retrieve it only to be hit in the head with the ride's car, causing instant death.
Another worker died at Gulliver's in Milton Keynes after his head struck a tunnel that the park train enters. It is not known whether the families of either worker pursued personal injury compensation from their employers.
The Claim Solicitors say stay safe
As long as regulating health and safety bodies are working to reduce such work accidents and accidents that affect the public they should continue to become less common. Considering the thousands of people that visit theme parks and queue up to go on super-thrilling rides every year, there are relatively few theme park accidents.
To stay safe and avoid having to pursue personal injury solicitors to make a no win no fee claim remember to:
- Follow any instructions provided by ride operators
- Abide by signs surrounding the ride
- Make sure that you push down any safety barriers yourself
- Make sure that safety barriers are checked by a ride operator before the ride starts
- Keep out of any restricted areas
- Hold on tight and have fun
Thrill seekers should be committed to having fun, not pursuing personal injury compensation.
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