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Regulation vs. litigation in amusement park accident cases

Before 1981, fixed amusement rides were regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. Today, Georgia and other states regulate these rides within their own borders, and regulations aren't necessarily uniform in each state. This is because of a budget deal reached in 1981, and lobbying efforts by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions have kept proposals for federal regulations at bay.

One defense attorney argued that theme parks and ride manufacturers are regulated enough and more regulations wouldn't prevent accidents from happening. He also said that the rides are engineered with safety in mind and that stakeholders within the industry are committed to safety. However, an attorney who represents accident victims pointed out that some states have no amusement park safety regulations. By proactively fighting for a minimum standard of safety, he claims that future tragic events may be prevented.

Another attorney who represents accident victims said that lawsuits may be more effective than regulation. Instead of relying on a government agency with a limited budget to inspect rides, the prospect of a lawsuit may make it too expensive to ignore potential safety issues. In addition to the cost of a judgment, the bad publicity it creates may be an incentive to ensure that an accident doesn't happen at an amusement park.

Those who are victims of what could have been preventable accidents may have grounds to take legal action. In an amusement park accident, it may be possible to name the park as well as the manufacturer of the ride as defendants. The person who was operating the ride or other parties might also be liable in a case. An attorney may be able to review physical or other evidence to determine how to proceed in a premises liability case.

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