Florida is a mecca for amusement park enthusiasts. Orlando theme parks in particular attract millions of visitors each year. Disneyworld, Universal Studios, LEGOLAND and Seaworld draw people of all ages eager to be entertained by the sights, sounds and thrills these parks provide. Tourists and locals alike can act like kids again while riding the latest roller coasters and themed adventure rides, all while strolling through the lush grounds and abundant scenery each particular place offers. Regardless of the size of the attraction, be it at world renowned theme parks or at the local county fair, the threat of danger is part of the appeal of many amusement park rides. Those hairpin turns, dizzying heights, and the rush of speed are meant to provoke a certain amount of fear and offer an adrenaline rush. The actual reality, though, is that amusement parks go to great lengths to assure that their rides are safe and no one is injured. Unfortunately, amusement and theme park ride accidents do occur, and can result in serious injuries for visitors. Whether you’re visiting the “happiest place on earth” or simply enjoying rides at a local fair, here’s what goes on behind the scenes to ensure riders stay safe.

Amusement Park Ride Regulations and Safety

The care and protection of riders is of the utmost importance both to amusement ride operators as well as to the state of Florida. These rides are required to be both carefully monitored and regularly maintained, adhering to strict guidelines in terms of use and operation in order to ensure rider safety. All amusement park and carnival rides in the state must receive proper permitting through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Safety (DACS). Ride owners and operators must provide proof of insurance and compliance testing, as well as pass an inspection for compliance with state standards. In regards to the permitting process, regulations for Florida amusement park rides fall into two general categories:

  • Temporary amusement park rides, or those that are regularly moved or relocated, such as found at county or state fairs or traveling carnivals; and
  • Permanent facility amusement rides, those that are operated as a permanent and lasting part of the particular premises, such as rides found at Disney’s Magic Kingdom or at Universal Studios.

Under Section 616.242 of the Florida State Statutes, all rides must conform to Florida safety standards for amusement park rides. Owners and operators must inspect rides daily, and any defects in the ride or accidents that occur as the result of a ride must be reported to the DACS.

Orlando Amusement Park Ride Injuries

Through the DACS, the Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection enforces the state rules, regulations and codes for all amusement rides except for those operating in large parks with over 1,000 employees who have their own on-site inspectors. Disney, Universal Orlando, and Seaworld have an agreement with the state that exempts them from state public ride safety regulation. Through this exemption, injuries at these parks are reported to the state when the injuries require hospital stays of more than 24 hours. Injuries at Orlando theme parks may include the following:

  • Fractures and lacerations;
  • Back and chest pain;
  • Head and neck injuries including dizziness, nausea and jaw pain;
  • Aggravation of pre-existing conditions resulting in heart problems, stroke and seizures; and
  • Heat-related injuries.

Contact Hogan Frick Law

If you’ve been injured as the result of an amusement park ride, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys. At Hogan Frick Law, with offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we will fight for your rights and help you recover damages due to medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today for a free case review.