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North Carolina State Fair Operator Faces Charges After 2013 Accident

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A Georgia man pleaded guilty to three charges of assault with a deadly weapon after a ride he was operating at the 2013 North Carolina State Fair failed and injured five people.

Fair goers were exiting a ride called The Vortex when it suddenly started again. The victims were between the ages of 14 and 39. Four of the five people injured filed a $150 million lawsuit against the ride operator and owner, and the claim was partially settled for an undisclosed amount.

Authorities determined that the ride had been tampered with and that important safety features were compromised. The ride’s owner was also arrested for three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Every year, amusement park rides cause thousands of injuries, ranging from bruises to critical and even fatal injuries. Some of the most common causes of amusement park accidents include:

  • Mechanical failure of the ride
  • Improper operation
  • Passenger failure to follow safety instructions
  • The nature of the ride itself, such as dizziness caused by spinning rides

Victims of amusement park accidents typically claim negligence or product liability in a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence requires proving that the park or ride operator was legally required to be reasonably careful, and in failing to do so caused injury. Examples include failing to regularly inspect a ride or failing to post signs warning riders of possible risks. Product liability claims are made against the ride manufacturer for creating faulty components, such as an ineffective lap bar.

Amusement parks, ride owners and ride manufacturers may make the argument that the rider assumed the risk by choosing to go on the ride. Some amusement parks have disclaimers on their admission tickets claiming the park is not legally responsible for any injuries, although these disclaimers are often not a strong defense. The ride owner or operator may also try to prove the rider failed to follow safety instructions. 

For more information on injuries resulting from amusement park accidents, speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury attorney at Lanier Law Group, P.A.  

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