In June of this year, six passengers were injured in a Florida roller coaster accident when one of the coaster’s car became derailed from the tracks. Two of the passengers in the front car were thrown from the ride, falling 34 feet to the ground. The remaining passengers waited in cars that were dangling from the tracks for emergency responders to extricate them from the ride. In all, ten people had to be removed by emergency workers, and six were hospitalized with varying injuries.
At the time of the accident, there was much speculation as to what could have caused the ride to malfunction in such a dangerous way. According to a recent news report, an investigation into the accident has uncovered some additional information as to what may have caused the accident.
Evidently, there were several problems that may have contributed to the accident. First, investigators noted that the ride looked as though cars had been derailed in the past, but had not been reported. Generally, Florida roller coasters are inspected twice a year by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). However, ride operators are required to conduct daily inspections prior to opening the ride to the public. This includes inspecting the structural integrity of the ride, as well as the condition of the track and cars. These inspections are required to be kept on hand in the event of an incident.
Investigators also discovered, however, that the roller coaster’s operator may not have been keeping complete records. When investigators requested the reports between August 2017 and May 2018, FDACS explained that the operator did not hand those reports over to the state. One FDACS representative explained that “there were times … the ride was not operating due to scheduled maintenance and repair.” In addition, the inspection forms used by the ride’s operator were designed for Go-Karts, and not specifically for rollercoasters. Thus, the inspection forms that were completed do not include several relevant fields, including hydraulics and structural integrity.
What is known is that the ride was closed for the two weeks immediately prior to the accident due to its purported poor condition. When the ride re-opened, the accident occurred within just a few hours. Experts have also stated that the ride was being operated at too high a speed, given the conditions.
An Amusement Park’s Duty to Its Guests
Amusement parks have a duty to ensure that their guests are safe and not unnecessarily put in harm’s way. Of course, this requires amusement parks to comply with all state and federal requirements, including the daily maintenance and inspection of all rides and attractions. When an amusement park fails to take these necessary precautions, guests are at an increased risk of being seriously injured. Anyone injured in a Florida amusement park accident should consult with a dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyer to discuss their case.
Have You Been Injured in a Roller Coaster Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida amusement park accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling all types of Florida personal injury and wrongful death claims, including those involving amusement park accidents and other premises liability claims. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney at Friedman Rodman & Frank.
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Jury Holds Railroad Company Liable for Fatal Train Accident, Court Upholds $10.4 Million Verdict, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 8, 2018.
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