Roller coasters and other amusement park rides are traditionally associated with summertime family fun. Each year, the nations 400 amusement parks have 300 million visitors, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Although injury and death from amusement park rides are rare, thousands of injuries do occur each year, and there are also many deaths.
Just this month, CNN reported that four people were injured on the Ninja roller coaster ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles. The front part of the roller coaster detached from the track and dangled at a 45-degree angle, pointing to the ground. The derailment happened after a tree branch fell onto the track. The derailment is the latest in a series of roller coaster accidents in recent years.
A fatal roller coaster accident occurred in Spain’s Terra Mitica amusement park earlier this month when an 18-year old boy from Iceland riding the Inferno roller coaster died after his seat harness failed and he was thrown from the ride. Last summer, a Dallas woman was killed at Six Flags Over Texas when she fell out of The Texas Giant Roller Coaster. A lawsuit concerning that accident alleges that the victim was not properly secured in her seat by ride operators and that operators did not stop the ride despite concerns that the restraint bar was not locked properly in place.
Accidents are not limited to amusement park roller coasters, but involve other rides as well. In 2011, an 11-year-old girl died after falling from the Giant Wheel Ferris wheel at Morey’s Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey The little girl fell approximately 100 feet from the 156 foot tall Ferris wheel while the ride was in motion.
The Science Daily reported that a study by The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that on average a child is treated in an emergency department every other hour in the U.S. for injuries received on amusement park rides. Researchers investigated ride injuries from 1990 to 2010 and found nearly 93,000 children were injured on rides including roller coasters, merry-go-round and others.
The study, which was released last year, found that more than 70 percent of the injuries occurred during the summer months of May through September. Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of Nationwide Children’s Hospital said that although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over mobile rides, regulation of fixed-site rides is currently left to state or local governments leading to a fragmented system.
USA Today reported that a Consumer Product Safety Commission analysis of amusement rides at parks and carnivals, found that an estimated 37,154 people were injured seriously enough to be treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2011. Of those, 35,977 were releases, and 1,177 were admitted to the hospital or died.
Amusement park accidents can cause serious personal injury, leading to massive medical bills, an inability to work, or even death. If you’ve suffered a serious injury on an amusement park or other ride, call the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law and we can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Visit www.munley.com.