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Who is responsible if you are injured on an amusement ride in Ontario?

In small towns across Ontario, the smell of cotton candy and fried food is in the air, while parking lots become a maze of thrilling midway rides and carnival games. With all that fun and excitement going on, people may not think about the potential risk of injury on amusement rides.

Sudbury, Ontario teen injured on midway ride

Lisa Belcourt was recently interviewed by Jason Turnbull on CBC Radio One’s talk show, Points North, to provide comment on an incident in Sudbury, Ontario that resulted in a teenage girl being injured on a midway ride at a local carnival.

During the interview, I was asked to discuss a recent incident in Sudbury, Ontario involving a young girl being injured on a midway ride. While not a frequent occurrence, I think most listeners would be surprised to learn that injuries on amusement rides actually happen more often than most people would expect.

As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I have had experience meeting clients with injuries from many different types of accidents including car accidents , motorcycle accidents and boating accidents. One thing they all have in common is that their injuries were unexpected and unplanned for.

Amusement ride injuries can include spinal cord injury and broken bones

While the vehicle is different, the injuries someone can suffer on a midway ride can be similar to those from a car accident or motorcycle accident.  Shoulder and neck injuries, broken bones, head injury and spinal cord injury can result if a person is ejected from a ride. Typically, for an event like this to occur, faulty or defective equipment or lack of proper maintenance of the ride would be the cause.

In a case like the one in Sudbury, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority will be called upon to investigate. TSSA is a not-for-profit organization set up by the provincial government that regulates amusement rides and other devices such as elevators and ski lifts, in Ontario. Their findings can help determine who is responsible in these situations. The incident in Sudbury serves to highlight the role of the government in licencing and inspecting amusement rides in Ontario in order to protect the public.

Ontario regulations hold amusement parks accountable

The regulations that cover amusement rides apply to the rides you would typically find at the carnivals that travel throughout Ontario during the period of May through October. The regulations also apply to permanent parks, such as Canada’s Wonderland. The regulations do not apply to devices that are for private use only at a dwelling (i.e. a birthday party).

The TSSA has broad powers to licence, inspect and prosecute. Prosecutions can result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment. In the case of a corporation, the directors and officers can be prosecuted in their personal capacity in certain circumstances.

Bringing forward a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario

The TSSA does not have the ability to award damages to an individual injured by an amusement ride. That individual would have to start a personal injury action and a personal injury lawyer is recommended to ensure that all potential parties responsible are included in the action. Potential parties could include the owner of the property where the event took place, the organizer of the event, the company providing the ride, the manufacturer of the rides, and the actual operator of the ride.

Ultimately, most riders know there is some level of risk involved in amusement rides. However, no one should have to consider the purchase of their ticket as an agreement to forfeit their safety entirely.

Ontario’s injury lawyers provide legal representation to accident victims and people with serious injuries in 35 communities across Ontario. Call 1-800-563-6348





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