In Connecticut, parents had just placed their kids on a rotating swing ride when it experienced a serious malfunction, stopped rotating, and collapsed forcefully to the ground (http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/09/us/connecticut-swing-ride-accident/index.html?hpt=us_c2).
According to witnesses, the scene evoked panic as worried parents rushed to remove their children away from any further potential harm. Twelve children and one adult were taken to the hospital following the malfunction, with another six people badly injured.
Apparently, the ride had been inspected only two days prior to the crash. The article discusses the safety hazards inherent with portable rides, such as those set up for a carnival, because each state varies in its inspection rates and no federal oversight exists. Some states require multiple inspections prior to and during the season. The state of Connecticut, however, only mandates one inspection before receiving a passing safety rating for the public.
Often, the plaintiff in a personal injury case sues under a theory of negligence. In a negligence case, a personal injury attorney works with the injured plaintiff to show how the injury was a direct result of the defendant’s breaching his duty of care to protect the plaintiff from harm.
The plaintiff does this by presenting law and evidence showing the defendant’s duty and how the defendant’s actions did not conform to a standard of care owed, resulting in the harm suffered.
The second theory to prove a claim is called strict liability, in which no duty of care is necessary. State law has decided that certain activities are inherently dangerous, and even with utmost care, any injury suffered during these activities is proof of negligence.
So what remedies are available to someone injured during a mechanical malfunction, rather than at the hands of a negligent party?
First, the families presented here could still bring a lawsuit on behalf of their injured children. Evidence supporting the negligence of the state, carnival owner, or carnival ride maker would need to be found and presented in order to prevail in court.
Here, a personal injury attorney would need to assess the facts of the situation to determine whether everyone in the chain of responsibility followed the correct procedures during the safety check.
Aside from that, finding out whether this ride rises to the level of being an inherently dangerous activity would determine whether strict liability would be available.
These situations are often complex, presenting mixed elements of liability, which is why it is extremely important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.