This past weekend, eighteen people, including twelve children, were injured at the Norwalk Oyster Festival when a carnival ride apparently malfunctioned. In this case, it was a swing ride that seems to have had its machinery suddenly freeze up, causing the riders to crash into each other and the ride itself. Basically, the type of ride at issue, the Zumur, consists of seats connected to rigid poles affixed to a rotating mechanism, the type of ride that is common at many amusement parks and carnivals. According to Connecticut State Police, the owner did not have a history of safety violations.
A study, US Pediatric Injuries Involving Amusement Rides, 1990-2010, by Thompson, et al., was published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics in May 2013. The study found that over 90,000 children were injured by rides over a twenty year period. One third of injuries occurred at fixed locations (theme parks/amusement parks) and 29% at temporary locations (e.g., carnivals and festivals). However, even if more are injured at amusement parks than carnivals, that might not mean carnival rides are safer if there is a significantly higher volume of riders at amusement parks.
The first thing, of course, when injured is to obtain immediate medical attention. To the extent possible, a victim should try to obtain witness identities and photographs/video of the ride, including inspecting the area for security camera and news cameras. Accidents do happen, but sometimes there is fault. If the owner fails to properly maintain the ride, it may be liable. If the operator fails to pay attention for potential hazards, there may be liability. If a machine was poorly made, designed, or repaired, there may be liability.
Hiring competent, experienced personal injury attorneys who can help navigate the maze of federal and state regulators will help a victim be made whole for any error that may have occurred.