August 13, 2018
Summertime and the Indiana State Fair go together like corn on the cob and melted butter. Nearly a million people visit the state fairgrounds every year in what could be considered the state’s biggest party of the year. Concerts, rides, games, animals, and, of course, delicious, deep-fried food await guests during the half-month celebration in the Crossroads of America.
But the Indiana State Fair isn’t without its shadows. In 2011, the massive mainstage collapsed under high winds, injuring over 100 people and killing seven. Additional dangers present themselves on the many amusement park-style rides, which have led to injuries at other state fairs across the country.
If you’re hurt at Indiana’s biggest summer party, what can you do about it? Depending on the accident, you may have several options.
State Fair Injury Scenarios
Two major causes of injuries at state fairs across the country are faulty or poorly engineered structures and employee negligence, especially on amusement rides.
Under premises liability law, victims in both these scenarios may be able to file a lawsuit for medical bills and other compensation. However, the defendant (the responsible party) will vary depending on the conditions of the case.
Possible Responsible Parties
So many different people and organizations come together to put on an event like a state fair: event producers, ride operators, food providers, etc. This means that for every attraction that has a risk of injury, a number of parties may be liable for keeping users safe.
For example, fair ride injuries could be due to errors in manufacturing, assembly and oversight, inspection, or the riders themselves. Some may try to argue that riders assume certain risks before getting on an amusement ride. Of these possibilities, a few are more likely than others to be the liable party.
Since people don’t expect to be injured on amusement rides, assumption of risk doesn’t usually apply in these scenarios. Instead, it covers things like being hit with a foul ball while watching a baseball game; the event is simply too unpredictable to completely ensure the public’s safety.
Inspectors are also usually not held liable for injuries that occur on rides or during other accidents at state fairs since they can only be responsible for recklessness, rather than negligence. This means that an inspector would have to intentionally cause harm or endanger others to be considered liable, rather than just making a mistake.
This leaves the manufacturer and the operators of the equipment that caused an injury.
Proving Fault in State Fair Accidents
Typically, officials like police, highway patrol, and attorneys investigate accidents that occur at state fairs since they are a matter of public interest. The evidence gathered in these investigations can be used in court to determine which of the many possible defendants are to blame for the accident.
Specifically, defendants need to be found guilty of negligence in their duty of care for those who were using their equipment, whether a stage, ride, or sideshow booth. For example, employees who are improperly trained, negligent in their jobs, or reckless can be held liable as well as the companies responsible for hiring them.
Get Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney
If you’re injured at a state fair, you may want to hire an Indiana personal injury attorney and seek compensation for your medical bills through a premises liability case. This way, you’ll be eligible to receive part of the payouts from the accident investigation and subsequent court decision, according to the severity of your injuries.
The lawyers at Hensley Legal Group are committed to serving Hoosiers who are victims of accidents that weren’t their fault. Call us or contact us online today to tell us about your story. Your conversation with us is free.