Preliminary reports after ride disaster yield few answers

Although it lies far from the New York City area, the Ohio State Fair has made news headlines in a manner that may give local carnival goers as well as enthusiasts across the country cause for concern. On July 26, an 18-year-old man was killed when a ride on the fairgrounds malfunctioned. Seven additional people were injured during the incident.

Eyewitnesses gave immediate accounts of the fatal accident to the press. Some people reported being traumatized by the event while others expressed disbelief. A video posted on YouTube shows a number of bodies in the air and a section of seats separating from the ride. According to a physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the video demonstrates multiple riders thrown from the ride at high speed, with high energy and from a height of approximately 20 to 30 feet.

A representative from the state Department of Agriculture indicated that his amusement park safety team had inspected the ride at various stages and approved it for operation. Early in the investigation, it is not known whether the case will be criminally prosecuted and who will ultimately be held liable for the fatal malfunction. A full investigation has been ordered.

Although New York City residents may be more likely to be injured in a trip and fall accident than in a catastrophic equipment failure at a fair, the legal liability can often fall on the same types of parties. Property owners are required to keep their premises safe and free of hazards, and a person who has been injured as a result of a dangerous condition might want to have the assistance of counsel when seeking compensation through a premises liability lawsuit.

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