Today’s rollercoasters are equipped with advanced safety systems including automatic stopping devices, advanced safety and should harnesses, multi-operator controls, and many more. However, sometimes accidents still occur due to unique and rare circumstances. In other instances, safety systems can activate without an immediately apparent reason resulting in stranded riders. While extremely rare, these types of difficult situations can occur. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or wrongfully killed, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, lost wages, and more.
What to Do After a Roller Coaster Accident
If you are one of the unfortunate few who experiences an accident and an injury at an amusement park, remain calm. If you panic you may make your situation worse or miss important information or instruction. Next, be sure to follow the instruction of all rescue or medical personnel. However, if you suffer an injury, no matter how slight it may see, seek medical care – even if it is not offered at the park or site of the injury. Seeking the opinion of a doctor or other medical professional can rule out any dangerous underlying conditions.
Roller Coaster Accidents at Major Amusement Parks
While rare, when they do occur the consequence of a roller coaster accident or malfunction can range from an inconvenience to a serious or even fatal injury. Recent roller coaster incidents include:
- New Texas Giant — The New Texas Giant is a steel rollercoaster that replaced the original wooden version. Tragically in July 2013, a 52-year-old woman sipped or fell out of her harness and fell to her death.
- The Ninja – On July 8, 2014, at Six Flags Magic Mountain a tree branch fell onto the track of the Ninja roller coaster. The falling tree branch lodged onto the tracks and was struck by the next roller coaster train that passed through. The impact resulted in the front car partially derailing at a roughly 45-degree angle to the ground. While all 22 passengers were rescued, at least two have filed suit – one alleging traumatic brain injuries due to the crash.
- Joker’s Jinx – This Six Flags rollercoaster stalled and stuck on one of its higher inclines when a safety system tripped disabling the train. The riders of the coaster were rescued by the local fire department who carried riders to safety by way of a cherry picker. Nearly 5 hours elapsed before all of the riders were safely on the ground.
The above represent some of the more recent roller coaster accidents or incidents. Unfortunately, many more incidents have occurred at amusement parks, carnivals, and fairs throughout the country.
Types of Potentially Dangerous Roller Coasters
The most widely known roller coasters include the following:
4th Dimension Roller Coaster – this is a type of Steel Roller Coaster in which riders are rotated independently of the orientation of the track, generally about a horizontal axis that is perpendicular to the track.
Accelerator Coaster – a long, straight launch track that has a tower, known as a “top hat,” and magnetic brakes that smoothly stop the train without touching it. After the top hat, the layout varies widely, ranging from a flat brake run to several inversions.
Bobsled Roller Coaster – uses a track design that is essentially a “pipe” with the top half removed and has cars that are sent down the pipe in a freewheeling mode.
Dive Coaster – has wide trains, usually consisting of two or three rows each seating 6 to 10 passengers. Seating is employed in such a way as to provide all riders a clear view. At the top of the primary vertical drop, a braking system holds the train for 3 to 5 seconds, giving riders a view of the drop ahead.
Common Types of Injuries Caused by Roller Coasters
The unique circumstances at play in any accident mean that one cannot reliably predict the exact severity and nature of the resultant injuries. However certain types of injuries are more likely to occur in this type of accident. Unfortunately, due to the high speeds that are often involved, roller coaster accidents can often be quite severe. The injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Pinched fingers or limbs
- Lost fingers or limbs
- Heart attack
Roller Coaster Mechanical and Control Failures
Here is a list of some of these mechanical and control failure occurrences:
- Brake failures resulting in collisions between cars or trains in the load station.
- Hard stops usually attributed to a control system error.
- Getting stuck in some portion of the track by various mechanical failures on the car or train.
- Failures of restraint systems resulting in injuries within the vehicle or ejections from the vehicle.
Injuries on roller coasters have resulted from the following:
- Ejections from the ride.
- Neck and back injuries from brake failures, jamming, or rough action of the roller coaster.
- Contusions, pinches, or other injuries from restraints.
- Injuries from falls onto or between the tracks at load stations.
Call Our Roller Coaster Accident Injury Lawyers
If you are a loved one have suffered a severe injury or was wrongfully killed due to a rollercoaster accident, you deserve justice and compensation for your loss. With more than 3 decades of experience standing up for those harming in accidents, the amusement park attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm can fight for you.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury roller coaster injury, contact The Reiff Law Firm for your free consultation by calling (215) 709-6940 or contact us online