Articles Posted in Amusement Park Accidents

There is no greater tragedy than the death of a child. When a child’s death results from negligence, their grieving family can begin to seek closure through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Unfortunately, one family was left grieving earlier this month when an 11-year-old boy was killed at an Iowa amusement park. Reports say that the boy passed away after the raft he was on overturned at the park. Although first responders and witnesses arrived to render care to the six passengers aboard the raft, the boy could not be saved. Several other passengers were hospitalized following the incident, including a second child who was said to be in critical condition.

According to reports, officials are still in the early stages of investigating this amusement park disaster. A key question could be whether negligence was a factor in the child’s death.

As normalcy is on the horizon and the weather continues to change, it is understandable that parents and children are eager to visit the various amusement parks that Maryland offers. However, as enjoyable as these places are, they often pose significant dangers to visitors. Those who suffered injuries at a Maryland amusement park should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Amusement park injuries can stem from mechanical failures, improper inspection, passenger negligence, the inherent nature of an attraction, and freak accidents. These incidents can result in serious spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain aneurysms, broken bones, organ damage, drowning, and death. In some cases, especially those involving mechanical failure to improper inspection, recovery seems straightforward. However, Maryland amusement park injury lawsuits typically involve complex tort and contract laws that may pose significant challenges to injury victims.

The most significant hurdle that injury victims frequently encounter when trying to recover against a negligent amusement park company involves the victim’s ticket and admission agreement. Understandably, most people do not read the fine print on their tickets or admission documents. However, these documents can prevent injury victims from filing a personal injury claim or recovering damages. The most common tactic amusement parks use to avoid liability is by including mandatory arbitration agreements in their admission paperwork.

Earlier this month, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit dealing with the naming of government defendants in a personal injury case. The case is instructive for Maryland premises liability plaintiffs because similar requirements are in place here in Maryland that may prevent a plaintiff’s full recovery if she fails to name certain parties in her complaint.

The Facts of the Case

After a young girl died in an amusement park accident on a New Jersey boardwalk, her parents filed a premises liability lawsuit against several defendants, all of which were related to the amusement park operation. At the time of the accident, the plaintiffs’ daughter was on a school trip. The plaintiffs did not name their daughter’s school in the lawsuit.

In a pre-trial motion, the defendants collectively moved to add the daughter’s school, arguing that there was evidence suggesting the school officials were also negligent and partially responsible for the girl’s death. However, the defendants failed to provide timely notice of the pending lawsuit to the school.

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The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo carnival reportedly reached a settlement thismonth, with the family of a three year old girl who was violently thrown from one of the carnival rides last year. The girl was on the ride “Techno Jump” with her eight year old brother, when she somehow slipped under the restraint bar and fell some 6-8 feet to the ground. She sustained a concussion and some other minor injuries. The girl was apparently tall for her age, meeting the minimum height requirement for the ride.

The lawsuit, against the owner of the Rodeo, Ray Cammack Shows, Inc. was filed last November, claiming negligence.

The child’s mother, Shanjea Pennygraph, sought damages for

relevant medical care, medical expenses, physical pain and past and present emotional distress. The filing also sought compensation for current and potential physical injuries. The Pennygraph family is reported to receive nearly $80,000 from the settlement.

This incident has allegedly prompted rodeo officials to revise guidelines for 16 of its amusements, which include the Techno Jump. The new guidelines revise the requirements for children not tall enough to ride alone. Children under a certain height may only ride if they have a “supervising companion” whom is at least sixteen years old.

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A 13-year-old lost her feet yesterday, when she severed them while riding an amusement park ride at a Six Flags amusement park in Kentucky. She was riding the Superman Tower of Power when a frayed cable snapped, hitting the girl’s legs and severing both of them above her ankle. She was immediately taken to a hospital for surgery.

The ride takes passengers up to 177 feet and then drops them at 54mph. Amusement park officials are trying to determine the cause of the accident, and Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. has shut down similar rides at other parks throughout the U.S.

Intamin AG made the Superman ride but not all the parts.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions says that in 2005, there we about 1,713 ride-related injuries. 132 of the injuries were serious.

Accidents at amusement parks are not uncommon. At an amusement park in Arkansas last month, riders were left suspended upside down while riding a roller coaster. At the Six Flags in Vallejo, California, six people were hospitalized after rider spent four hours at 70 feet. Eight years ago at the Six Flags park in Kentucky, roller coaster passengers were stranded up at 60 feet for over three hours.

Accidents leading to injuries that are caused because of another’s negligence can be grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit. When an amusement park accident leads to injuries, there may be more than one liable party. The amusement park, its parent company, amusement park employees, maintenance workers, amusement park manufacturers, and others may be accountable for personal injury, including for premises liability, products liability, and wrongful death.

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