Free Consultation · Call 24/7
Search
Close this search box.

Chicago Amusement Park Accident Lawyer

When your child suffers a severe injury at an amusement park, you may face overwhelming medical debt and be unable to work because of your child’s care needs. An experienced and compassionate amusement park accident lawyer at Levin & Perconti can help you recover substantial damages for your financial losses and your child’s pain and suffering.

Quick Links

Amusement park owners and employees have a legal duty to follow state regulations and exercise reasonable care in supervising and operating rides and attractions. When safety regulations are not followed, the risk of serious injury is high. If your child gets injured at an Illinois amusement park, contact us immediately to learn how you can pursue significant financial compensation.

What Kinds of Injuries Warrant Contacting an Amusement Park Accident Lawyer?

You should contact an amusement park attorney as soon as possible if your child sustains any of the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury from G-forces, falls, jolts, or blows to the head
  • Non-traumatic brain injury from a near-drowning incident on a water slide
  • Whiplash from the sudden jerking movements or spinning
  • Broken bones from falling, colliding with others in an overcrowded bounce house, or being struck by parts of a ride
  • Spinal cord injuries from ride G-forces, falls, trampoline accidents, or crushing accidents from heavy ride equipment
  • The death of a child from any amusement park injury

Amusement parks are crowded spaces with attractions and vendors outside of rides. Injuries may also occur from slipping and falling due to spills not being cleaned up, contaminated food, or trampling due to poor crowd control. 

Any serious injury at an amusement park warrants a call to an attorney. You can reach us at any hour, any day of the week, by calling 1-877-374-1417.

Amusement park swings

How Do Amusement Park Accidents Happen?

Amusement park rides are complex machines that often make extreme movements at excessive speeds and heights. Safe machine operation requires a long chain of events to go smoothly. It only takes a slight breakdown in the system to cause a devastating accident. 

The most common causes of amusement park accidents include the following:  

  • Inadequate supervision of rides and attractions
  • Improper fastening of harnesses, seatbelts, and safety bars
  • Equipment failure
  • Inadequate staff training
  • Failure to enforce height and weight limits
  • Inadequate preventive maintenance of rides
  • Poor crowd control
  • Unsafe ride designs
  • Negligent staff

Recent Amusement Park Accidents In Illinois

Our firm currently represents an eight-year-old who fell from the top of a 24-foot rock wall and landed on the concrete below, resulting in crippling injuries requiring years of physical therapy. The accident occurred because the attendant failed to properly secure his harness. 

We also represent a seven-year-old girl who broke her arm in an improperly supervised bounce house facility. 

In another case, a ten-year-old boy was thrown from the Moby Dick ride at the Antioch Taste of Summer festival. He sustained serious injuries requiring surgery, including jaw fractures and injuries to a leg bone. He has endured multiple surgeries. The ride had known issues with the safety bar that is supposed to lock riders into place.

What Should I Do If My Child Is Injured in an Amusement Park Accident?

Your highest priority after your child suffers injuries in an amusement park accident must be to follow through with all recommended medical care. Not only does this protect the health and well-being of your child, but it is also vital for your legal case.

The foundation of every personal injury claim is evidence of injuries. Your child’s medical records can prove the existence and extent of your child’s injuries. However, if you do not complete all recommended treatments, the defendant could use this against you and attempt to minimize your child’s injuries.

The next priority is to involve an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. 

When you hire our nationally recognized theme park attorneys at Levin & Perconti, we will build your case by thoroughly investigating your accident, the amusement park, and your child’s injuries. We will use our findings as leverage to negotiate a maximized settlement.

Do I Still Have a Case If My Child Signed a Waiver?

Liability waivers are a common tactic recreation companies use to escape liability. However, these waivers are often unenforceable on multiple grounds.

  1. Minors in Illinois cannot legally enter contracts or waive their rights. A judge recently confirmed this in a case we are handling that involves a minor who fell from a rock climbing wall at a Navy Pier.
  2. We contend that a waiver is not enforceable if all the risks have not been disclosed in writing.
  3. Waivers are not enforceable in cases involving gross negligence or deliberate misconduct. Examples include negligent hiring, lack of supervision, and knowingly operating an unsafe ride.
Carnival ride ferris wheel

What Laws Protect Children on Illinois Amusement Park Rides?

The Illinois Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Act established the state Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Board, which enforces the act’s requirements. The act imposes multiple safety regulations on attractions that include the following:

  • Carnival rides
  • Trampoline parks
  • Dry slides
  • Ski lifts
  • Inflatables, such as bounce houses
  • Bungee jumping attractions
  • Adventure courses
  • Trains and trams
  • Zip lines
  • Haunted houses
  • Go-kart tracks
  • Mobile climbing walls
  • Mechanical bulls

The Illinois Department of Health regulates water slides.

Permitting Requirements

Each ride and attraction at an amusement park must have a permit issued by the Board, which certifies that the amusement park owner has paid the required fees and met safety requirements. The permit must be visibly displayed at the attraction. A permit can be revoked at any time for any reason.

Inspections

Every ride and attraction must be inspected before it is put into service and at least once annually afterward. If an inspector deems the ride unsafe, it must be taken out of service until it is repaired and declared safe.

Employee Screening

Employees such as ride operators must pass a background check and drug screening. Amusement companies must implement a drug policy and perform random drug screening.

Insurance Requirements

Amusement companies are required to carry liability insurance with a minimum of $1 million of coverage per accident. The insurance provider must have a rating of B+ or higher and a high financial class rating.

Ride Supervision

Every amusement ride or attraction must be operated in the presence of an attendant or assistant aged 16 or older and an employee of the amusement company. The attendant must meet strict training requirements and cannot be a registered sex offender.

How Can an Amusement Park Accident Lawyer Help?

When you contact our award-winning amusement park accident lawyers, we will handle all the legal details so you can focus on caring for your child. We understand how traumatic it is when your child is severely injured, and we will prevent you from experiencing added stress because of your legal case. You can count on us to do the following for you:

  • Take over all discussions with the amusement park, its representatives, and its insurance company.
  • Gather all the evidence for you, including forensic data from the ride, medical records, camera footage, and eyewitness statements.
  • Collaborate with the Illinois Department of Labor while investigating the accident.
  • Negotiate skillfully for a settlement that will truly compensate you for your child’s injuries.
  • Keep you informed of all developments in your case.
  • File your lawsuit well ahead of the statute of limitations.
  • Prepare your case for trial and present it compellingly to a jury should a trial be necessary.

What Types of Compensation Can My Child Recover After an Amusement Park Accident?

When your child has been severely injured in a theme park, you may be able to recover substantial damages for your child’s ongoing medical care, pain, and suffering. Our experienced amusement park lawyers can also help you recover your lost wages and childcare costs stemming from the accident. 

If the injuries will result in a permanent disability, you may also be able to recover your child’s lost lifetime lost earning capacity. 

Theme park accidents are often the result of blatant disregard for safety, including willful violations of safety regulations. In these cases, you may qualify for punitive damages, which are often substantial.

Who Is Liable in an Amusement Park Accident Lawsuit?

Establishing liability in amusement park litigation is complex because these cases generally fall under multiple categories of liability.

Premises Liability

In premises liability cases, property owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from safety hazards that were reasonably foreseeable or preventable. An amusement park owner may be held liable for the following:

  • Negligence of employees
  • Negligent hiring
  • Trip and fall hazards
  • Unsafe rides
  • Unregistered rides

A property owner may be held liable even if the amusement park was a temporary venue, such as a carnival or fair. The owner and management company of the fair or carnival may also be liable.

Product Liability

Product liability law holds manufacturers, distributors, and retailers responsible for injuries sustained by patrons from amusement park equipment under the doctrine of strict liability. In these cases, it is not necessary to prove negligence. Instead, a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may be held liable for injuries if any of the following is proven:

  • The ride was inherently unsafe by design.
  • The ride was unsafe because of a manufacturing defect.
  • The instructions or warnings for operating the ride were inadequate.

General Negligence

Any business or individual can be held liable for negligence when an injury occurs at an amusement park if you can prove all of the following elements of negligence were present when the accident occurred:

  1. Your child was a patron on the ride, establishing a duty of care.
  2. A business or individual violated the duty of care.
  3. Your child suffered an injury because of the violation.
  4. The violation of duty was the proximate cause of your child’s injuries.

How Much Time Do I Have To File an Amusement Park Claim?

The Illinois personal injury statute of limitations requires that most personal injury lawsuits be filed within two years of the accident. For unemancipated minors, the clock on the statute of limitations is paused until they turn 18, allowing them to file a claim at any point before their 20th birthday. 

However, you have the right to file a claim on your child’s behalf now. This will allow you to receive the compensation you need to help your child recover. If you file now, it will also be easier to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. Evidence in amusement park cases can disappear quickly.

If you wish to file a claim on behalf of your child, you must do so before the two-year statute of limitations expires.

How Long Do Amusement Park Accident Settlements Take?

Settling an amusement park case may take several months. The length of time depends on the amusement park’s willingness to take responsibility for the accident by paying fair and reasonable compensation. Our skilled theme park accident lawyers are familiar with large companies’ stall tactics, and we have the strategies to thwart them.

We successfully settle most of our personal injury cases, allowing you to receive your compensation sooner than if the case goes to trial. 

We are experienced trial lawyers, and if the defendants refuse to offer the amount your child deserves, we are unafraid to take the case to trial. Our policy is to never accept less. However, the final choice to accept a settlement or go to trial is always yours.

Why Choose Levin & Perconti?

With over 400 years of combined experience, our talented premises liability attorneys have won over a billion dollars for injured individuals, including children injured during playtime and recreational activities. Below are just a few examples of our successful case results:

  • $10 million for a five-year-old boy who lost his leg and half of his pelvis after a Chicago fire truck struck him while playing in an open fire hydrant on the Fourth of July 
  • $6 million settlement for the families of six children who died when they were unable to escape an apartment fire 
  • $775,000 for a three-year-old boy who fell out of a third-story apartment window after a landlord failed to timely replace it
  • $600,000 settlement for an eight-year-old girl struck by a speeding boat with an inattentive driver

If your child suffered injuries at an amusement park, we are here to help you through this difficult time. Call us today at 1-877-374-1417 to schedule a free consultation.

Testimonials