Nationwide, hayride accidents are reported every year. Because part of the charm is being among a crowd of riders sitting on loosely packed bales of hay, when an accident happens, multiple people tend to get hurt. Hayrides present many hazards. The rides are often conducted at night to better enjoy the moon and starlit sky, but that could mean limited visibility for the wagon driver. The path the ride takes could be bumpy or marred by holes that could trip up a horse. Low-hanging tree branches may collide with riders. Eager to make a profit, the rider operator might overload the wagon beyond its capacity, causing the wagon to collapse or overturn.
Hayrides often are part of an “agritainment” enterprise–a farm or orchard that supplements its income by providing harvest-related entertainment such as fruit picking, pumpkin patches, petting zoos, corn mazes, and hayrides. The owner of the land where these activities occur can be liable to visitors on the premises and for the hayride too.
Hayride operation is not regulated by the State of Georgia or the federal government. So where injury or death occurs during a hayride, the injured party or his or her family must seek compensation for the personal injuries through general accident law or premises law.
The law impose a duty on the person or business operating the hayride and inviting customers onto the premises to enjoy the ride to ensure the customers’ safety. In Georgia a customer is an invitee, someone who was induced to come upon the owner’s premises for a lawful purpose. The premises owner is liable for damages when a customer is injured when the owner fails to exercise ordinary.
Among the duties owed to protect customers from danger, the operator may be expected to:
- Provide adequate lighting along the hayride route
- Carefully load riders onto the wagon and unload them from the wagon
- Fill the wagon only to a safe weight capacity
- Clear holes, bumps, and other hazards from the road
- Properly maintain the equipment used in the hayride
- Prohibit alcohol consumption during the ride
- Adequately train the drivers and other ride crewmembers
The lawyers of Angell Law Firm are personal injury attorneys who are experts in personal injury law, which is the only kind of case they handle. Bryce Angell represents victims of many types of accidents. If you have been injured while on a hayride or participating in other farm or orchard seasonal events, the Angell Law Firm can help. Call (770) 217-4954 today to discuss your legal options. The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves Chatham County, including Savannah; Clarke County including Athens; Cobb County including Marietta; DeKalb County including Decatur and Stone Mountain; Fulton County including Atlanta, College Park, and Roswell; Gwinnett County including Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross; and Oconee County including Watkinsville.