The Robenalt Law Firm extends its condolences to the family of the 18 year old who died and those who were injured on the Ohio State Fair Fire Ball ride last night. As fair and festival accident attorneys who've handled many cases against fair and festival operators, we know this is a trying and confusing time for you. Unfortunately, in most cases we've handled, if the fair or festival operator had followed the rules and regulations that were designed to prevent injuries, no one would have been hurt.
How Did the Ohio State Fair Accident Happen?
As NBC News reported, the Fire Ball ride, "which spins and swings passengers in a pendulum-like motion," malfunctioned after 7 p.m. on July 26.
"A video of the incident posted on YouTube showed seats of the ride breaking off and bodies flying through the air," NBC said.
An 18-year-old man died and seven other people ranging in age from 14 to 42 were injured after being ejected 20 or 30 feet into the air, per Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
How Did the Ohio State Fair Respond After the Accident?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich shut down all rides immediately after the accident and tweeted his thoughts and prayers, according to Fox News. This morning, ABC News reported that Ohio State Fair officials tweeted the following message: "Our hearts are heavy for the families of those involved in last night’s tragic accident. We have shut down all rides until the state has inspected each and every ride again and deemed them to be safe."
Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels told ABC that rides are inspected every day. In fact, 11 didn't operate the day of the accident because they hadn't been inspected, and four rides didn't operate because they didn't meet mechanical requirements.
What Laws Are in Place to Help Ohio State Fair Victims?
The State of Ohio requires fair and festival operators to adhere to the following rules and regulations:
(A) The owner of an amusement ride shall maintain a current maintenance, repair, and inspection record for each amusement ride in accordance with rules prescribed under division (B) of section 1711.53 of the Revised Code. The records shall contain information on the date and nature of all inspections of the amusement ride made by the department of agriculture or the owner, and a record of all violations of the rules issued by the department and actions taken by the owner to correct such violations. The owner shall keep inspection and maintenance records and make them available to the department upon request. The owner of a temporary amusement ride shall inspect that ride in accordance with rules prescribed under division (B) of section 1711.53 of the Revised Code each time that there is a reassembly of the ride.
(B) The owner of an amusement ride shall maintain records of all serious injuries involving riders, containing such information as the department prescribes, on forms prescribed by the department. These records shall be made available for inspection by the department on request. In the case of an accident, the owner of an amusement ride shall immediately notify the department by telephone or in person and subsequently file a written report with the department within twenty-four hours of the accident.
(C) The owner of a temporary amusement ride shall provide the department with a tentative schedule of events at which his ride will operate during the upcoming season. Rules of the director shall establish timetables and procedures for the providing and updating of the schedules to the department.
(D) An amusement ride operator shall be at least sixteen years of age, shall be in attendance whenever the ride is in operation, and shall operate no more than one ride at a time. The owner or amusement ride operator may deny any person entrance to the amusement ride if he believes the entry may jeopardize the safety of the person desiring entry, riders, or other persons.
(E) In addition to the annual inspection or reinspection of an amusement ride for a permit or other reason required by the rules adopted under division (B) of section 1711.53 of the Revised Code, the department may inspect any amusement ride after the report of an accident or in response to a complaint filed with the department.
(F) The director may order in writing a temporary cessation of the operation of an amusement ride that the department finds by inspection to be unsafe by reason of a violation of the rules adopted under division (B) of section 1711.53 of the Revised Code. The operation of that amusement ride shall not resume until the condition causing the violation has been corrected and the amusement ride is reinspected. Any reinspection under this division shall take place within 24 hours after notice to the department by the owner that the condition causing the violation has been corrected.
If these rules and regulations weren't followed, the Ohio State Fair Fire Ball operator can be considered to be “per se” negligent. This means it's easier to hold the operator accountable for injuries.
Contact Our Fair and Festival Accident Attorneys with Questions About Your Rights
The fair and festival accident attorneys at the Robenalt Law Firm have used the above rules and regulations to help hold ride operators accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one were injured on a ride, contact attorney Tom Robenalt by calling 216-223-7535, submitting this form, or emailing email@example.com today.