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.
are two main categories of amusement park rides: fixed-site and mobile.
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.
amusement rides travel from place to place, such as rides that you find at
carnivals and county fairs.
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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.