Carnival Ride Injuries Expose Many To Lawsuits
Stewart said he bought the ride new in 1983 from Chance Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Wichita, Kan., and never had a problem with it until now. The company stopped making the ride in the mid-1980s.
State troopers inspect all rides at every carnival or fair before they can open to the public, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman. Vance said troopers inspected the Zumur ride before the fair began.
Bloss said the organizers of these festivals need to do their due diligence in the planning stages.
"A small nonprofit could really put itself in a terrifying situation if they don't require the operator to have adequate insurance," said Bloss. "You may think they're a reputable company but get their OSHA records, get their insurance information. A nonprofit that just assumes that ride operators are safe and qualified might be putting its existence in jeopardy."
Bloss, in considering possible lawsuit scenarios, said a claim against the state, even though state police inspect rides ahead of time, is less likely, especially considering immunity and needing permission from the claims commissioner to sue.
Bloss said if the ride's problems were due to operator error, then a negligence claim would be filed against them. But if the problem was due to a defect in the ride, that could result in a products liability-type claim against the manufacturer.
"There's lots of possibilities," said Bloss. He noted that a potential plaintiff's lawyer would be paying close attention to the findings of the state police's investigation.
Angelo Ziotas, of Silver, Golub & Teitell in Stamford said the firm did receive one call already from someone involved in the accident in Norwalk.
"We did get one call but it appears that particular person was not seriously injured," said Ziotas. He said anyone with a more serious injury is likely tending to that at this point, rather than calling lawyers.
"Everyone, including the people running the festival, are fortunate there weren't any deaths or what appear to be any life threatening injuries," said Ziotas.