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Amusement Park Injuries: Important Safety Regulations and Reporting Requirements

With the opening of the New Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park at American Dreams Mall and the soon-to-open waterpark at the new Rutherford, New Jersey mall, its important to keep in mind that if the attractions at such amusement parks are not operated, monitored and maintained in a reasonable manor there is an increased risk of accidents and injuries.   

There are two main categories of amusement park rides: fixed-site and mobile.

Fixed-site rides are permanent and are not moved from location to location, such as the American Dreams amusement parks, Six Flags Great Adventure or Morey’s Pier.

Mobile amusement rides travel from place to place, such as rides that you find at carnivals and county fairs. 

Additionally, there are some amusement rides that are classified as inflatable amusement attractions, such as moon bounces and inflatable slides; these types of attractions are not governed under any safety regulations in New Jersey.    This does not mean that if you are injured on such attractions, that you do not have a case. It simply means that there have been no state regulations specifically addressing these rides and therefore common law negligence would apply. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the national governing authority that regulates mobile amusement park rides. While the CPSC is responsible for setting the safety standards as well as overseeing and investigating injuries at mobile parks, the commission does not conduct inspections of every carnival or fair. The lack of inspections at such events becomes an even bigger concern when paired with the fact that the implementation of these safety standards is voluntary, not mandatory.

 

Unfortunately, the CPSC also does not have the power to regulate or inspect fixed-site amusement rides. In fact, there are no federally-regulated safety measures for amusement rides that are classified as fixed-site. While some states enforce safety regulations for fixed-site rides, there is no national standard for safety. The exclusion of fixed-site rides from the CPSC’s authority is often referred to as the “Roller Coaster Loophole” and has become quite a controversial issue for safety regulation. Many times, these fixed-site rides are not held to the same level of maintenance and safety inspections as those of carnivals and mobile rides. This is especially concerning in New Jersey, as many of the parks that we love and visit with our families are fixed-site amusement parks. When the authority to regulate fixed-site rides was taken away from the CPSC in the 80’s, the responsibility fell on the state and local governments.

In New Jersey, fixed-site amusement park regulations are governed by the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act (CARSA), N.J.S.A. 5:3-31, et seq. (1975). This act established an annual safety inspection program for fixed-site rides, through which rides that pass inspection are given a green sticker and those that have not are given red stickers. Additional safety regulations governed by the Carnival and Amusement Ride Safety Act include:

  • Fixed-ride manufacturers must have their rides certified before it can be sold for operation in New Jersey
  • Owners of fixed-site rides must register each ride with an annual permit, which requires annual as well as random operational inspections throughout the year
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Parks and operators must ensure the rides are safe and has the appropriate restraints, inspections, maintenance, supervision, and instructions for riders. In the case that an employee fails to properly secure a rider, does not post the necessary safety instructions, or does not maintain a ride correctly, then he or she may be held liable for any injuries that result. Amusement parks in New Jersey can also be held responsible for actions of their employees.  This type of legal claim would be for negligence, and the case would need to prove that the defendant did not take the proper safety precautions or was negligent in being careful about the safety of riders, and that this negligence caused the injury.

Examples of these cases of negligence include:

  • Not adequately warning riders of the risks involved with a ride, even if there are marked signs
  • Failing to safely maintain equipment or inspect the rides
  • Failing to train the ride operators sufficiently
  • Failing to warn riders that have certain conditions, such as a heart problem, that they should not go on a ride
  • Not operating the ride correctly
  • Giving incorrect instructions to riders

Reporting Requirement for Injuries at a New Jersey Amusement Park

In the unfortunate event that you or your loved one is injured at an amusement park in New Jersey, your first step is to get medical treatment. The next extremely important step is reaching out to a qualified legal team for help. If you have been injured in one of these situations, the State of New Jersey requires you to provide the amusement park with a written notice that includes all of the pertinent details of the incident within 90 days of the incident. This is why it is extremely important to seek legal help to avoid losing your option to pursue a claim for your injuries.

Here at The Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams, we recommend that you speak with an experienced amusement park personal injury lawyer on our team prior to speaking to any representatives on behalf of the amusement park.

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Monroe Township: Accidents and Safety–Monroe Adds Emergency Vehicles for Safety

      

Monroe takes public safety seriously! The Monroe Township Police Department has added two new emergency response vehicles to its fleet, one for traffic control and the other for emergency medical services. One of the current EMS vehicles has answered about 1,200 calls per year and an astonishing 208,000 miles in response to emergencies throughout Monroe. As a proud resident of Monroe, Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Gregg A. Williams, is impressed with the enhanced safety measures performed by his hometown.

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“Sami’s Law” to Provide Increased Protection Uber/Lyft Passengers

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation requiring ride-sharing services to show additional identification after the March 2019 brutal murder of a University of South Carolina student police say got into the car of an Uber impersonator.

“Sami’s Law,” which will take effect in March 2020, will mandate that rideshare drivers to comply with the following regulations:

  1. Display two identifying marks on the front windshield and the rear window of their vehicles;
  2. Rideshare companies will be required to create two copies of a unique barcode passengers can scan with their smart phones to confirm their driver’s identity;
  3. Rideshare companies must issue two credential placards for drivers to place on the passenger and driver side rear windows. The placards will contain a driver’s name, photo, and their license plate number.

Per New Jersey’s version of the law, rideshare drivers who fail to comply with requirements will be subject to a $250 fine. Any rideshare company that does not implement mandatory measures may also have their operating permits suspended or revoked.

If you have any question regarding your rights as a passenger in a ride sharing car service, it is best to contact our personal injury lawyers today!

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$350,000 Settlement For Client Injured In An Accident With A Tractor Trailer

Gregg Williams recently obtained a settlement at mediation for a client who was injured on his way to work when his vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer. Our client had severe preexisting degeneration in both his neck and back before the accident. The accident aggravated our clients degenerative arthritis causing increased neck and back pain and requiring him to undergo laser spine surgery. The truck’s insurance company alleged that our client would have received the surgery regardless of the accident.

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Umbrella Injuries on Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day Weekend fast approaching everyone is excited about end of summer barbeques, picnics, and spending the long holiday weekend down the shore. Whether on the beach, or having lunch at your favorite outdoor restaurant, umbrellas are everywhere you look. While seemingly harmless, umbrellas are often left unsecured, unlocked, or otherwise erected in an unsafe manner. When this occurs the umbrella is susceptible to becoming airborne when hit with a gust of wind. Data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that more than 31,000 people were treated in hospitals for umbrella injuries between 2008-2018. US Senator Robert Mendez from New Jersey has asked for regulations to make umbrellas safer such as requiring them to have printed warning labels. Our firm has handled numerous cases where a victim was struck by an unsecured umbrella. If this happens to you call our Attorneys at 732-514-6635.

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What are YOUR RIGHTS AS A PASSENGER in a Motor Vehicle Accident

  • File a Claim against the Driver’s Insurance

If the driver who was driving the vehicle that you were a passenger in were at least in part at fault for causing the motor vehicle accident, you have the legal right to file the claim against the driver’s insurance policy. This allows the passenger to receive financial compensation for the injuries that he or she incurred in the accident.

  • Filing a Claim against the Other Driver’s Insurance

If the other driver is at fault, you can pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance coverage.  If that other driver is partially at fault then you can pursue a claim against both his insurance and the insurance carrier of the vehicle in which you occupied.  

  • Through your own insurance for uninsured or uninsured motorist coverage

If the at fault driver or drivers are uninsured or underinsured to compensate you for your injuries, then you have the right to file a claim against your own insurance company.  If this is for underinsured motorist coverage, then this claim would be in addition to claims brought against one or both at fault drivers.   For a more detailed discussion of your underinsured and underinsured motorist coverage see our blog dedicated to this topic.  As well as contact us at 732-514-6635. 

  • Contact a Certified Civil Trial Attorney Today!

If you were injured as a passenger in a automobile accident, contact us for a consultation to find out which legal options may be available to you after your accident. We will review your claim during a free, no obligation consultation to help you find out if may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party.

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How to Best Protect your Legal Rights If you suffer a job-related injury or accident

How to Best Protect your Legal Rights If you suffer a job-related injury

File an Accident Report

It is best to report any accident in which you’re involved on the job, whether or not you believe you’re injured. Filing an incident report immediately protects you if you don’t experience symptoms until weeks or even months after the accident.

Consult a Doctor

It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible following an accident at work. Immediately after the accident, you should ask your employer for medical treatment or to go to the emergency room. You should also ask your employer if they require you to see a certain doctor or if you can choose which doctor to go to.

Report Injuries as Soon as Possible

It is up to your employer to file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company on your behalf. They won’t know to do this until you let them know you are injured.

If you reported the accident, but didn’t know you were injured at the time, let your employer know as soon as you discover your injury. Follow up to make sure that a workers’ compensation claim is filed. You are entitled to a copy of the workers’ compensation claim filed by your employer.

Consult a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Prior to filing a claim, it’s best to consult with an attorney who has experience handling workers’ compensation claims. An initial consultation is free and can help you determine what benefits you might be entitled to receive.  If you are injured at work call the Law Offices of Gregg Williams to speak to one of our workers compensation attorneys today. 

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How to Choose the Attorney Best for You

“How to Choose an Attorney Best for You”

  1. Certified: Less than 2% of all attorneys in New Jersey are Certified Civil Trial Attorneys-Gregg A. Williams is one of those who has this prestigious distinction. A certified attorney is best to represent you in a personal injury case as they are the most experienced trial attorneys and are required to pass a rigorous certification vetting process including additional board exams.
  2. Specialty: It is best to choose an attorney who focuses his or her practice on one specific area of law, not a myriad of areas—with expansive knowledge in that one area of law and that will best serve your needs as a client. The Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams focuses ONLY on personal injury accident cases.
  3. Proximity to you: It is always better to retain an attorney close to your home and in a central location in New Jersey. The Law Offices of Gregg A. Williams is located right in the heart of East Brunswick, right off the Exit 9 New Jersey Turnpike. It is best to have an attorney who is close to your location.
  4. Experience: The best attorneys are the experienced ones. The Law Offices of Gregg Williams has over 20 years of experience practicing personal injury law. It is in your best interests as a client to choose an attorney who not only has experience in law, but in a specific area of law.
  5. Home Team:  It is best to have an attorney who practices often in the court and county where your case will be venued. Our trial attorneys have tried cases in nearly every county in the State most frequently Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, Essex County and Somerset County.    

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Pedestrian Accidents in New Jersey

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 70,000 pedestrians are injured in motor vehicle accidents each year while approximately 5,000 are killed. Children between the ages of five and nine are most likely to be struck by a vehicle. Not only are children small and difficult to see, but they also act unpredictably and erratically. Many pedestrian accidents are preventable, and often occur when a pedestrian is attempting to cross an intersection and a driver is not paying attention. Poorly maintained roadways or construction and debris that is blocking the pedestrian’s path can lead to an accident. Pedestrian accidents account for two percent of those injured or killed in traffic accidents annually. Pedestrian accidents are among the deadliest kinds of vehicle accidents nationwide. Even a car traveling at a low speed can cause disabling injuries, including spine and brain injuries, to a pedestrian

NJ law protects pedestrians’ rights by requiring that drivers yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, and remain stopped until a pedestrian has finished crossing. Usually, in the event of an accident, a pedestrian’s primary legal claim will be against a negligent driver. Whenever a pedestrian is hit by a car while crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk (at any corner), the driver of the car is usually considered to be at fault. This is because drivers have a legal obligation to keep a proper lookout and avoid hazards in the road, and a pedestrian in these circumstances would generally fall under this rule.  When children are around, drivers must be even more cautious. When driving past a school, park, or residential area, drivers may be legally required to exercise an even greater degree of care than they would otherwise.

If you or a loved one have been affected by an accident, call our accident specialist attorneys at 732-514-6635.

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Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death claims are distinct from personal injury lawsuits because personal injury suits are brought by the victim. But in the case of a wrongful death, the victim is unable to receive his or her just compensation.

A wrongful death lawsuit is technically brought by the decedent’s estate or heirs—namely his or her spouse and children who received benefit from the deceased during his or her life.

In order to bring a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s family members must prove that they have suffered (and will continue to suffer) financial losses as a result of the death. Damages in a wrongful death suit are based on monetary contributions the decedent was reasonably expected to make to survivors, rather than the survivors’ unique needs.

A survival action allows a decedent’s estate to make a claim for the decedent’s injuries before he or she died. Unlike a wrongful death suit, a survival action deals with the pain and suffering of the deceased, rather than the pain and suffering of the surviving family members. A survival action allows for compensation for pain and suffering in the time span between injury and death.

For example, take a construction worker who was gravely injured in a structural collapse. He suffered many physical injuries, emotional pain, decreased quality of life, and lost out on several weeks of wages. He planned to file a personal injury suit against his employer, but he died of medical complications before being able to. A survival action allows the decedent’s estate to collect damages for the construction worker’s pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.

One key difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim is that, in survival actions, the damages recovered go the decedent’s estate, not directly to the family members; the damages are then distributed according to the decedent’s will (or according to state law, if there is no will).