Will the People Injured at Alton Towers Yesterday be Able to Claim Compensation?
Theme park accidents and injuries are few and far between. While not my cup of tea, many of us love the feeling of danger and risk we experience on these attractions. Each park is constantly on a quest to create the next most thrilling ride to attract visitors.
Although we want the thrill and excitement and do consent to being thrown around at speed, visitors do not consent to all risks and there is a duty on theme parks to follow safety procedures and have comprehensive maintenance and fault detection systems in place.
The Health and Safety Executive are investigating what happened at Alton Towers when 16 people were injured on the Smiler ride at the Staffordshire park. Mechanical and system failure is likely to be at the centre but could human intervention have prevented the accident? The safety requirements impose strict controls on the theme parks. While accidents happen, risk management is critical in this industry. If Alton Towers have not followed safety procedures or failed to close the ride when previous concerns or faults occurred, then they may find themselves liable to pay compensation to those who were injured yesterday. They may also be criticised if the human checks or override process did not stop the cart departing pick up zone when a fault with the empty cart was identified. The HSE investigation will issue findings and take further action if appropriate. These conclusions will assist those injured to determine whether they do have a right to claim compensation.
Even if Alton Towers have fully complied with all the safety requirements and processes, this is still likely to have an impact on their reputation and maybe visitor numbers over the next few weeks.
Image from Alton Towers Press Centre.