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Recent North Carolina fair accidents highlight rights of customers

Oct 18, 2014 - Articles by

Many people who live in Mecklenburg County have spent a day at a state fair at some point in their lives. This is not the kind of setting where most people would expect to sustain a serious personal injury, yet recently, the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh made headlines when two harmful incidents occurred. These accidents serve to remind people in North Carolina of the risks that they face as well as the rights that they have in the event of a preventable injury.

Vortex rides injure passengers, worker

Two North Carolina State Fair rides called the Vortex made headlines within five days of each other at the end of October when they led to personal injury. According to Fox News, the first incident occurred when one of the Vortex rides started moving while people were trying to disembark. According to NBC News, some people fell from as high as 30 feet. Five people were injured, with three having to remain in the hospital overnight. Investigators later found that ride safety devices had been tampered with. The ride’s operator was charged with assault with a deadly weapon leading to serious injury. Later, the owner of the thrill ride was also arrested, and he faces similar charges, according to Fox News. Tragically, a second ride at the same venue, also called the Vortex, fell on a worker five days later. The man was pinned under the seating section of the ride and reported as being in critical condition at the hospital the following day, according to NCB News. The circumstances of the second accident are not fully clear. However, during the first accident, it appears that negligence may have occurred on the part of the ride operator or owner. It remains to be seen whether any of the people injured on the Vortex ride will seek compensation, but the accidents do provide a chance to remind people of their rights if they ever face a similar situation.

Premises liability in North Carolina

Amusement park accidents usually fall under the category of premises liability. Legally, the theory of premises liability maintains that:

  • Property owners must provide a reasonably safe setting.
  • Property owners must make a reasonable attempt to address unsafe conditions or advise visitors of the danger.
  • Property owners may be held liable for foreseeable accidents or injuries that happen on their property.
  • Trespassers are not protected under premises liability as long as the property owner does not know about them or willingly harm them.

The issue of liability can be more complicated with accidents like those described above. The injuries occurred at a state fair with rides that were independently maintained, rather than at an amusement park with permanent rides. In this case, the ride operator or owner might be held liable if negligence were established. The complexity of these issues underscores the reason that people who are involved in this type of accident should seek legal help. A lawyer can determine whether anyone is at fault and advise victims on their options. If you believe that another person’s negligence contributed to an injury that you sustained, you should contact an attorney to find out whether you might be entitled to compensation.