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When People Are Injured or Killed at State Fairs, Who’s Responsible?


It’s the type of accident that haunts every parent’s worst nightmares: a ride that malfunctions at a state fair and injures and kills people in the process.

On July 26th, 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed and seven others severely injured when the “Fire Ball” attraction at the Ohio State Fair malfunctioned, falling apart in mid-air. Jarrell ultimately died of blunt force trauma, suffering head, trunk, and lower extremity injuries when the ride fell apart. Two others remain in critical and serious condition at local hospitals.


The tragic incident ultimately begs the question that the young man’s father asked after his son’s senseless death: Who is responsible for not doing their job of inspecting the rides? While the rides were closed for a few days after the incident so that they could all be inspected, they reopened as early as July 30th, leading one to wonder just how thorough of an inspection was conducted.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also now sending in an investigator.

Similar Rides in Other Parks

According to the governor, the Fire Ball ride had been inspected multiple times by a third-party inspector. Meanwhile, similar rides across the country are being shut down as a precaution, as this same Fire Ball ride is available at several parks in different states. Many providers of state fair rides are now keeping Fire Ball rides closed until further notice from the manufacturer for precautionary safety measures.

Amusement Park Injuries & Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that it is aware of 22 deaths associated with amusement attractions since 2010 (excluding water-park and work-related fatalities). The Commission also estimates that there were close to 31,000 injuries associated with amusement attractions at emergency rooms in 2016 alone; an increase of more than 14 percent just since 2013.

According to several theme park consultants who spoke with media sources, the incident at the fair was due to a structural issue: The arm of the ride, which swings back and forth in a pendulum motion, experienced a mechanical failure which caused it to break apart during its mid-air swing.

Personal Injury Litigation

Nothing can ever replace the loss of a loved one who was taken too soon due to a mistake or negligence on the part of someone else. The same applies to those who are severely injured and suffer because of it. But in many of these types of incidents, there is no choice but to bring litigation against those responsible for said injuries and/or deaths in order to achieve justice.

If you have been injured at an amusement park in Florida, contact one of the Boca Raton personal injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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