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Fatal accident highlights dangers of amusement rides

Many of you likely heard about the tragic fatal accident that occurred recently at the Ohio State Fair when the Fire Ball ride malfunctioned. Seats came off of the spinning ride, sending an 18-year-old young man to his death and injuring seven more people, including one as young as 14. Some were struck by flying debris from the malfunctioning ride.

While inspectors worked to determine what caused the ride to go horribly wrong, carnivals and fairs across the country closed their Fire Ball and similar rides as a precautionary measure at the height of state fair season.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this marks the 22nd death since 2010 on a thrill ride. The CPSC further says that close to 31,000 people were injured by carnival rides last year. As ride operators point out, however, some injuries occur because guests are doing things they shouldn't be on the rides.

States vary in their oversight regulations of fair and carnival attractions and in which agencies are charged with keeping them safe. Some states, including nearby Mississippi and Alabama, have no oversight regulations.

Ironically, the Fire Ball involved in the recent fatal malfunction had been inspected several times before the fair's opening day, and a permit was issued by the state.

The Outdoor Amusement Business Association defended the Fire Ball's operators, as well. "This incident took place despite multiple independent inspections of the ride and only a full and complete investigation can identify the issues or issues that led to this tragedy."

One attorney, who represented the survivors of a person who was fatally electrocuted at a county fair notes that there are any number of individuals and entities that can be held civilly and criminally liable for injuries and deaths on these rides. This may include ride operators, subcontractors, owners and inspectors.

It's not uncommon for businesses and people to try to shift the blame for an accident. An experienced Louisiana attorney can help ensure that the cause of the mishap is determined so that victims and surviving loved ones can seek the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: NBC News, "Number of Accidents Due to Amusement Park Rides Might Be Higher Than You Think," Phil McCausland, July 28, 2017

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