Carnival Ride Injuries Expose Many To Lawsuits
It's fair season in New England.
Many towns have held fairs or carnivals, filled with games and rides. The fun will culminate for some with the Big E in West Springfield.
But it wasn't all fun and games at the Oyster Festival in Norwalk earlier this month. In fact, for any parent who's ever brought their kid to a fair, it was their worst nightmare.
A dozen children and one adult were taken to the hospital after one of the rides malfunctioned. Five other people were treated by paramedics at the scene. When police first arrived, they found children on the ground being tended to by frantic parents.
Although there have not been any lawsuits filed yet as a result of the ride accident, Connecticut trial lawyers said there are many potential causes of action that might be brought in its aftermath.
Bill Bloss, of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, said in general, a company that puts on the rides would be most susceptible to lawsuits, especially if a nonprofit or other organization that hosts the carnival has an indemnification clause in their contract.
But, he added, organizers of a fair or carnival could also be liable, especially if the company putting on the rides exhausts their insurance policy limits in short order.
"If there's only $1 million in [insurance] coverage that could get exhausted fairly quickly in a catastrophic accident" said Bloss. "The sponsors need to be very, very careful."
The Norwalk accident occurred on the rotating, swing-type ride called the "Zumur," which lifts riders up and away as it spins, authorities said. State police said a mechanical failure caused the ride to suddenly stop and those on board collided with each other.
Police initially thought some of the ride's occupants had fallen to the ground. But a preliminary investigation by state police indicated no riders were actually ejected from the ride or fell from it.