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Staying safe at theme parks

Rides at carnivals and other amusement parks in Georgia and around the country are currently regulated at the state level. This is because of a budget deal created by Congress in 1981 that effectively stripped the Consumer Product Safety Commission of its ability to do the job. While there were efforts to reverse the effects of that deal, lobbying by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions has helped to prevent federal oversight.

According to one lawyer based in Chicago, the group spends over $600,000 a year in lobbying efforts. However, a defense attorney in California says that additional oversight wouldn't have played a role in preventing accidents involving rider injury. He went on to say that amusement park operators take safety seriously although lawsuits could shed light on safety issues that may need to be addressed further.

Those who agree say that lawsuits may be more effective for those who are injured compared to increased regulation. Proponents of this method say that local officials may not be able to guarantee public safety no matter how much regulation is imposed. Bringing cases to court may also generate publicity that amusement parks don't want, which will encourage them to make safety a priority.

Individuals who are injured because of preventable accidents could be entitled to compensation in a premises liability case. If it can be proven that negligence led to the injuries, injured victims may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Negligence may include failing to inspect a ride or make repairs as necessary. An attorney may be able to review the case to determine how best to proceed.

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