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High liability risks the norm for amusement park rides

Although accidents on Georgia amusement park rides are rare, they tend to place high levels of financial responsibility upon the manufacturers and ride operators when they do occur. For example, the terrible death of a 10-year-old boy decapitated in a 2016 water ride accident produced a civil settlement with the park owners, operators and raft manufacturer that was suspected to approach $20 million.

In another incident, a boy only suffered cuts and scrapes, but the accident was especially alarming because the $43 million wave ride had only been open for a short period of time, and the water slide threw the boy on to concrete.

An expert in amusement park insurance needs explained that general liability represents the largest portion of insurance that theme park ride manufacturers need to obtain. He said that professional liability and excess liability also apply. When an accident happens, the source of the problem must be identified. Sometimes the blame is assigned to the manufacturer and sometimes to the operator error. A combination of design flaw and operator mistakes could apply in some cases.

Operators of public or private venues have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for visitors and guests. The failure to address safety hazards could allow someone who is injured on an amusement park ride to have a viable premises liability claim against the responsible party. An attorney who has experience in these types of matters could review the official accident report and other evidence to see if the failure to properly maintain the equipment was a cause of the accident.

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