A day at the amusement park can be a stress-relieving, fun way to pass the time. However, despite the joys they provide, many patrons are caused to suffer from personal injuries every year at amusement parks due to dangerous conditions or defective rides. If you or a loved one were injured and plan on filing a claim against one of these parks, it is important to properly notify the park operator so that your claim is not dismissed as untimely.
In New Jersey, a significant portion of amusement park regulations, maintenance, and safety duties are imposed by statute, the most notable being the Carnival Amusement Rides Safety Act or “CARSA.” CARSA requires that a person injured on an amusement park ride report the accident, in writing, to the park’s operator within 90 days of the accident occurring. This report is a precondition to any lawsuit against a park operator as a result of an injury sustained while on a ride. If you do not follow the notice requirements, your claim will unfortunately be barred.
There are some exceptions to the 90-day notice period. First, it’s important to note that the operator must post notice of the reporting requirement in English and one other language (deemed appropriate by the amusement park operator) in at least five different locations on the premises, including each entrance and exit, each place designated for receiving reports of accidents and injuries during business hours, and each place designated as a first aid station.
Additionally, the reporting time can be extended up to one year at the discretion of a judge, but only if the park operator is not substantially prejudiced by that extension. The ability or inability of an amusement park operator to identify and locate witnesses for its defense is a factor considered in the analysis of prejudice.
Finally, if a park operator itself has filed an accident report with the Department of Community Affairs, the notice requirement will be deemed satisfied. This stems from a duty to report certain injuries and fatalities as well as mechanical malfunctions while the ride was in use.
It can be difficult to fully assess and apprehend the notice requirements for these amusement park claims. If you have any questions or are unsure about whether the park operator in your claim was notified, feel free to call our office and we will help you. We are willing to discuss any premises liability or negligence claims you may have against any park operator as a result of injuries sustained while at an amusement park.