The Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California is being sued by two injured visitors after the Ninja roller coaster they were on struck a tree. The ride partially derailed, leaving everyone on the ride stranded until they could evacuate. The two visitors now suing the amusement park were hospitalized for their injuries. Roller coaster accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge anyone injured at a theme park to contact our firm immediately.
The plaintiffs filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, arguing that Six Flags’ negligence caused the ride to be unusually defective, hazardous, unsafe, and dangerous. The accident was caused by a free that had fallen on the roller coaster but was not removed. More than 20 riders were stranded about 40 feet off the ground after the ride derailed. They were stuck for nearly three hours.
Six Flags is also accused of failing to provide a safe and fit ride, directly leading to injuries and damages. A branch from the fallen tree hit one of the plaintiffs in the head just before the ride derailed, and he was hospitalized and treated for a minor head injury. He told the LA Times that he heard a loud crack when the tree fell onto the tracks and he ducked down to miss the trunk of the tree, though a branch hit his head causing some bleeding.
California safety officials opened an investigation into the Ninja’s derailment, where they collected witness statements and interviewed park personnel. Witnesses described seeing the tree fall across the coaster tracks around 6 PM that evening, when the ride was already in motion and heading toward it. They described seeing the Ninja go into the trees, then hearing a cracking noise followed by a chorus of screaming.
A Brief Overview of Amusement Park Litigation
A similar lawsuit was recently filed against Disneyland Resort, after a man was injured on Splash Mountain. The jury in this case found Disneyland to be negligent and responsible for the accident. Lawsuits against amusement parks are actually quite common, particularly in the summer months when residents in northern states visit in large numbers.
One roller coaster accident at Darien Lake Amusement Park ended in tragedy, when an Iraq War veteran lost his life. Army Sergeant James Hackemer visited the park in 2011, no small feat after losing both legs and part of his hip in Iraq. Despite his lack of body mass, park operators allowed him to go on the Ride of Steel roller coaster. Because of his amputations, Hackemer was traumatically ejected from the roller coaster while it was in operation, later dying from the injuries.
His family sued the park on his behalf, accusing it of inadequately training its ride operators and allowing Hackemer on the ride when he should not have been. Investigators cited operator error as the direct cause of the fatal accident. Darien Lakes does have signs up throughout the park indicating the riders must have two legs to go on rides – particularly roller coasters – however, Hackemer’s family stated that no one stopped him before going on the Ride of Steel.
Darien Lake Amusement Park agreed to settle the lawsuit in an undisclosed amount, however it is reported that his daughters will receive seven-figure funds when they turn 18. In addition to inadequate training, Darien Lakes was also accused of recklessness and negligence.
Not all amusement park lawsuits are successful in court, however. A woman recently attempted to sue Great America after she sustained a wrist injury while riding bumper cars. A bumper car struck her own head-on, causing her wrist to break. She consequently sued the park for failing to take the necessary precautions to stop such an accident, however the California court ruled that her wrist injury was a foreseeable and assumed risk of bumper cars.
Other accidents, though minor in nature, can be successfully pursued in court because they were outlandish or not assumed risks of the ride. For example, a woman in Pennsylvania recently won her case against Palisades Park after she slipped at the water park and injured her knee. The woman was taking her infant son down a kiddie water slide and slipped on the mattress-like pad at the bottom of the slide. She fell against a hard object in the pool, causing a deep laceration to her knee that exposed knee tissue.
The fall resulted in permanent scarring and significant pain, along with other long-term problems with her knee functioning. She also received substantial medical bills from her hospitalization. The injury will continue to prevent her from engaging in many daily activities that she was previously able to do.
Our team of amusement park injury lawyers offers free legal consultations to anyone with questions about injuries suffered on rides and filing a claim. As illustrated above, injuries do not have to be catastrophic or fatal to quality for legal action. If the victim suffers significant pain or long-term consequences of any kind, a claim against the park is reasonable. Contact our firm by phone or in the contact form to the right of your screen for more information.