Two individuals who were left hanging almost 30 feet in the air when a tree fell onto the tracks of the roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain have filed suit for injuries sustained during the ride. Reports indicate the ride was operating at its normal capacity when the incident occurred and there did not seem to be any mechanical malfunctions that led to the incident.
The two injured individuals and 20 others were freed after almost three hours of being stuck on the ride. In their lawsuit, they claim the park was negligent in their duty to keep the riders safe by allowing them to ride on an unsafe, dangerous and hazardous conveyance.
The question of whether theme park rides are actually safe is not an unreasonable one. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital states that more than 92,000 children were injured on roller coasters in amusement parks over a 20-year period. In 2011 alone there were 1,204 injuries or more than 100 per month, and between 1990 and 2004 there were 52 deaths recorded in connection with theme park rides.
There are laws governing the inspection of amusement park rides at both the state and federal level, although states are tasked with setting safety standards for their amusement parks. In California, all rides must be inspected on an annual basis and photos of the ride must be taken at the time of the inspection. Records must also be kept and produced on demand when a state inspector asks to see them.
In the case of the Six Flags roller coaster, however, it appears that the inspector in charge of that particular ride may have been overworked. Inspection records indicate the individual who inspected the above-listed ride had also inspected 40 other rides during a four-day period of time and had taken photos of all the rides. While the laws governing amusement parks only require an annual inspection and proof of insurance in the event of an incident, it is understood that inspectors are to make a thorough examination of the rides in order to promote the safety of passengers. If inspectors are overworked, their examinations may not be complete and they can miss important factors that could lead to an accident.
In 2000, California enacted the Permanent Amusement Ride Safety Inspection Program in order to better regulate the inspection process. California law states that only certified safety inspectors can perform annual inspections. These examinations must be unannounced and must be conducted while the rides are in operations. The inspectors are to look at all records concerning each ride. The owners of the amusement parks are also required to report any injuries that have occurred.
California has specific laws in place to protect individuals who enjoy amusement park rides, but these laws cannot provide complete protection. When something goes wrong with a ride or when inspections are not carried out properly, the amusement park or the state agency might have liability for the injuries that occur.
If you have been the victim of an amusement park accident, talk to the Amerio Law Firm in Roseville. The personal injury attorneys at the Amerio Law Firm can help you answer questions concerning your case and advise you of your legal rights and the proper course of action to take to recover compensation.