Injury Lawsuit Filed After Maine Fairground Incident

A man has filed a Maine injury lawsuit alleging he sustained serious injuries in a 2010 fair accident at Windsor Fairgrounds. He was reportedly struck in the head and shoulder while watching a harness race. He was one of five people hurt in the accident.

Bangor injury lawyers understand the gate, which is towed by a vehicle, didn’t retract fast enough and several spectators were hit. The gate, which weighs approximately 1,500 pounds, was reportedly traveling some 35 mph at the time of the incident.

As in many cases like this, where injuries occur due to dangerous conditions or faulty equipment on a property, several of those involved negotiated settlement agreements with insurance companies However, this plaintiff said his settlement negotiations were unsuccessful and now, his medical bills are approaching $100,000.

Named as defendants is The Maine Gate, Inc., which had leased the starting gate to the fair, the owner of the vehicle and also the fair itself. The lawsuit claims negligence, saying all parties involved knew the vehicle was dangerous and failed to take the appropriate precautions to make it safer or to warn patrons of the danger.

The lawsuit further alleges that those who were operating the gate were inexperienced and lacked proper training, and that the safety of this particular gate had been debated by fair officials in the past.

This is not the first time that a fair has been taken to task for allowing unsafe conditions on site. In North Carolina recently, state regulators fined fair ride owners and operators nearly $115,000 for an incident during the 2013 fair that wounded five people, three of those critically.

In that case, according to the Associated Press, the ride owner and one of the ride’s operators have been charged criminally for alleged intentional tampering with a safety device that would have kept the ride from moving unless all riders were secured properly. With the safety feature disabled, the ride suddenly lurched into motion before everyone was belted, launching them into the air.

Some of those hurt included children, and several say they have suffered permanent injury, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage and chronic pain. They are collectively suing for $150 million.

In Connecticut last year, 13 children were injured when a swinging ride suddenly lost power, bringing them from full-throttle to a sudden stop, causing several riders to collide.

In Maine, fairs are overseen by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. There is a specific state commission that oversees harness racing.

While there are several festivals and other events on fair grounds at various times of the year, Maine State Fairs begin in July and stretch through the beginning of October.

These events can be fraught with peril. For example, bounce houses, which have become a popular attraction at these events for young children, are extremely dangerous. Canadian researchers recently conducted a study that found that a child’s risk of injury in an inflatable bounce house was double what it was for roller coasters. One such incident in New York recently occurred when an inflatable bounce house went airborne with children inside, resulting in more than a dozen injuries, including one woman who suffered spinal cord damage.

Depending on the circumstances of a fairground accident, there could be several different parties deemed liable, including the owner of the property, the organizer of the event, the manufacturer of the device or the operator. Such claims could include negligence, premise liability or defective product.

Contact the  Maine personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Maine Sues Over Injuries From Windsor Fair Starting Gate, April 23, 2014, By Betty Adams, Portland Press Herald

More Blog Entries:

Inclement Weather Continues to Effect Maine Drivers, April 7, 2014, Bangor Injury Lawyer Blog

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