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Paul Carvis

Panel Personal Injury Solicitor

A guide to making a No Win No Fee amusement park accident claim

Amusement parks, theme parks and fairgrounds present many risks - both to employees and members of the public. Anyone involved in their design, construction, organisation, maintenance and operation must follow strict health and safety procedures.

Where an amusement park accident is the result of a person or company's negligence, anyone injured in the accident may be entitled to seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have experienced and to cover their medical and financial losses.

Are amusement parks safe?

The recent incident at Alton Towers, which left a number of young people severely injured as a result of a carriage collision, highlights just how serious a risk theme parks present. It also highlights the importance of health and safety in such environments.

Although many of the accidents that occur in amusement parks are not as dramatic, they can still cause injury.

From defective rides to falling signs, ineffective safety barriers, unidentified trip hazards and poor food hygiene, reported injuries range from the minor to the severe and include cuts and bruises, whiplash, lacerations, broken bones and head injuries.

What are the health and safety requirements of amusement parks?

Amusement parks are complex environments with complex health and safety requirements.

Theme parks and fairs are built, organised, managed and run by a wide range of people and companies, and involve employer/employee relations. They are also public spaces, hosting high numbers of visitors.

These parks contain everything from electrical and mechanical rides to cinema experiences, independent game stalls, slot machines, play areas, restaurants and food stalls - each posing its own unique safety risks.

When it comes to health and safety, a wide range of legislation applies.

This legislation includes:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974;
  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992;
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR);
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005;
  • Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996.

To help those in charge of theme parks to reduce risks, work safely and comply with the law, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), alongside the Fairgrounds and Amusement Parks Joint Advisory Committee (FJAC), offers a set of guidelines on safe practice.

The guidelines outline all duties of responsibility for those involved in an amusement park, and how to manage them. But what are the duties?

  • Designers, suppliers, manufacturers and installers have a duty to ensure that the attractions are safe, installed correctly and properly researched
  • Organisers with overall control of the fairground or amusement park have duties concerning risk assessment and implementation, safe layout and emergency procedures
  • Controllers have a duty to maintain attractions in a safe condition
  • Operators are in charge of an attraction and have a duty to manage it safely
  • Attendants have a duty to take care of their own and other's safety and to follow instructions
  • Inspectors have a duty to provide adequate testing and inspection services

If an individual or company fails to uphold any of their given duties, an accident could occur.

Who are claims made against?

Because of the complex nature of amusement parks and the health and safety regulations guiding them, apportioning liability is not always straightforward.

If a member of the public was injured because of a faulty ride, who is responsible? Is it the manufacturer for not building it to specification, the installer for not installing it correctly or the park organiser for not ensuring proper safety checks?

In the Alton Towers case, the company themselves admitted liability. And often the organiser (or company) is liable. But deciding liability depends on the nature of the accident and what factors and people are involved.

Claiming for an amusement park or funfair accident

When a person is injured at an amusement or theme park, as the result of an accident which was not their fault, one of the first steps, after seeking medical attention, is reporting the incident. This may involve informing an attendant about what happened so that they can record and escalate it.

If possible, evidence from the scene of the accident, including photographs, witnesses and any CCTV footage should be sought as this could be vital in proving negligence.

Any further medical consultations documented will also be useful evidence when demonstrating the extent of the injury and therefore in deciding how much compensation should be given.

100% No Win No Fee amusement park accident claim

Typically a no win no fee agreement (more correctly referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a specialist injury lawyer.

A CFA is basically the terms and conditions under which the solicitor represents the claimant.

It outlines what the solicitor will actually do and how they is paid if the compensation claim is won.

If you use Quittance Personal Injury for your amusement park accident claim there are no sneaky hidden costs in the terms and conditions , nothing to pay up-front and the comfort that you will never be out of pocket.

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