You don’t have to travel to far if you’re in New York City and want to enjoy a day at an amusement park. The city is home to plenty of its own. Brooklyn is home to the famed Coney Island. The Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village is right down the road in Queens. Six Flags Great Adventure is just a short car ride away down the NJ Turnpike.
While amusement parks can be a lot of fun, they can also be quite dangerous. People suffer minor and catastrophic injuries more often than you might think. In 2016, more than 30,000 people visited the emergency room after being injured in an amusement park accident. Children account for about half of all of those visits. Kids between the ages of 10 and 14 tend to get hurt the most.
An unexpected accident on a rollercoaster or carnival ride can turn a fun day into a nightmare. If you or a loved one has been injured in an amusement park accident in NYC, you deserve to fully understand your legal rights and options. The amusement park or a negligent third party may be liable for your injuries.
However, the steps you take immediately after your accident can have a huge impact on how any future legal claims unfold. Here’s what you need to know.
Report the Accident Right Away
Some amusement park accidents will be really obvious to everyone around. However, some accidents might not get the attention of park staff or management. If, for example, you slip and fall over a loose electrical wire, that might go unnoticed unless you say something.
Reporting your accident is really important. You want to put the amusement park on notice and establish a record of the accident that caused you to get hurt. Without this, it might be easier for the park to deny the accident ever happened, at all. With a formal report, you’ll be in a better position to get the money you deserve.
Document the Scene of the Accident
Don’t hesitate to begin to document the scene of the accident and your injuries right away. Take pictures of defective equipment or rides. Many people like to document their lives on social media through photos and videos. Ask around to see if anyone happened to film your accident or got part of it on tape. It can also help to gather names of witnesses who saw what happened. If you have time, take a few minutes to write down your memory of how events unfolded and what caused you to get hurt.
This information might be really helpful down the line if you decide to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney can rely on the evidence you gathered the day of the accident as they launch an independent investigation of their own.
Don’t Delay a Medical Evaluation
Make sure that you seek medical attention as soon as you can after you’re injured at a New York City amusement park. Whether that involves going to an on-site medical facility or the hospital is up to you. The important thing is that you undergo a prompt medical assessment.
When you file a lawsuit or insurance claim for benefits, you’ll generally have to prove that you got hurt because someone else – in this case, the amusement park – was negligent. In order to prove negligence, you’ll have to prove that your accident caused your injury.
When you seek medical attention, there will be a record of your injuries. The less time you allow to go by, the better. You don’t want to wait a few days and then find out that you have a serious injury. That could make it harder to prove causation. It could make it easier for the amusement park to argue that you could’ve gotten hurt at any point in that one week span between when you got hurt and sought help.
Don’t Talk to Anyone About the Accident, Except For Your Lawyer
Be careful who you talk to and what you say after an accident. Amusement park management and/or their insurer might try to trick you into saying something incriminating. In New York, anyone who contributes to an accident can be liable for injuries and damages. This includes victims who get hurt in those same accidents.
Sharing fault won’t necessarily prevent you from getting money. You can still seek compensation as long as someone else is also responsible. However, your damages will be reduced to reflect your contribution to the accident. The more fault allocated to you, the less money you can potentially recover.
The only person you should talk to after you get hurt at an amusement park is your NYC personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate any legal claims you ultimately decide to pursue.