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14 Aug 2019

Personal Injury

Beware the Pitfalls of Fairground Attractions

Sometimes an injury can arise when you least expect it

It’s that time of year when families look forward to the school summer holidays and how, in turn, the children can be entertained. Families will visit a variety of attractions, ranging from stately homes to theme parks, farms to funfairs! Wherever you decide to visit, you must remember that the owner/occupier of the event has a duty to ensure that you and your family are safe whilst on their premises.

When attending a theme park or fairground, you should normally expect to spend the whole day enjoying yourself, you don’t expect to sustain a personal injury. However, theme parks are not always the safest of places and there have been a number of high profile incidents reported in the press which highlight the issue.

On 30 May 2019, at the Lightwater Valley Theme Park near Ripon in North Yorkshire, a 6-year old boy fell a distance of 30 feet from the ‘Twister Roller Coaster’ ride, sustaining significant injuries.  In 2001, at the same theme park, a university student died when 2 cars collided on the ‘Tree Top Twister’ ride.

Bouncy castles are a popular attraction for young children but, again, they are not without their Health & Safety concerns. Only on Fathers’ Day this year (June 16, 2019) a 3-year old girl was taken to hospital following an incident whereby 2 bouncy castles were blown into the air at an event in Howden, East Yorkshire.

It is the responsibility of the fairground or funfair owner to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy place for you to visit. Anyone involved in the operation, maintenance, organization, construction, and design of the fairground needs to comply with Health & Safety requirements. If they fail to do this, and you suffer as a result, then you are entitled to make a claim.

One of the most important questions raised by parents is what they should do if their child has been injured at a fairground. Parents can proceed to represent their children up until the age of 18. Normally there is a 3-year period in which to commence a claim but in the event of children time does not run until their 18th birthday and hence the claim would need to be commenced prior to their 21st birthday.

The Health & Safety Executive have information to guide members of the public as to how they can take reasonable steps when visiting theme parks or fairgrounds to guard themselves against risk. Take note of any safety briefings or signs. Don’t interfere with such things as safety bars or restraints on rides that are there to protect you. Some rides will have height or weight restrictions and may require rides to have certain physical abilities.

If you have been involved in an accident at a fairground, it is essential to obtain as much information as possible to present to your solicitor. If the incident is a serious one, you may not be in a position to do so. Your health should always be the main priority, which is what we would need to focus on initially. However, if possible, evidence such as witnesses, photographs, proof of expenses and making notes of what happened would assist in dealing with your claim.

If you have suffered an injury as described above – let us help. Get in touch with our expert team today.


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