Ohio’s amusement parks are known for fun, but its attractions can also cause injuries. Unfortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit faces obstacles because government agencies do not receive comprehensive reports on injuries suffered at these parks. Lack of transparency also limits public accountability for negligence or unsafe rides.
Because parks usually employ their own private police and paramedics, they can restrict access to information on accidents and who was treated for injuries. The state’s Department of Agriculture requires amusement parks to disclose an incident within one day, if it led to an overnight stay in a hospital. However, a review of reports from the last five years reveal deficiencies because information did not describe how the ride operates, such as dizziness, elevated heart levels and heart attacks.
Parks also had problems deciding whether an accident had to be reported because they did not know where injured persons went after they were hospitalized. Some injured patrons also did not tell hospitals that they were injured on a ride.
Information can surface when local police departments and paramedics become involved. But, park security departments and paramedics must contact these first responders because they cannot transport injured riders to local hospitals.
These public records revealed reporting deficiencies. The call log for Sandusky paramedics identifies five trips in six months to the Cedar Point Amusement Park for injuries, such as a patron breaking a leg while getting on a ride, a person who suffered a dislocated knee from a waterslide injury and a child who hit his head when he fell off an inner tube. But, these accidents were not reported to the state.
Failure to meet the state’s minimal reporting standards is not severely punished. In 2013, the state fined Kings Island $500 because it did not report an injury for several months. The park claimed that it was unaware that the injury led to a long hospital stay requiring a report until the injured person contacted them. The amount of the fine was equal to the price of 12 daily admission tickets to the park.
Experienced attorneys can help gather evidence on injuries and other evidence to support a lawsuit against negligent amusement parks for premises liability or unsafe rides. Lawyers may help injured victims seek compensation and file timely legal actions.