Posted On: December 3, 2010 by Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser & Zoeller

Accidents at Theme Parks Often Cause Serious, Permanent and Sometimes Fatal Injuries

Families dream of that perfect vacation, many times staying at a theme park for several days, riding the many rides, eating all of the varieties of food, and just generally having a good time at places such as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, or one of the many other amusement or theme parks.

Unfortunately, many times these vacations are not without injury. It has been stated that almost all theme park injuries can be prevented. Sometimes though, even the most cautious among us still fall prey to the unexpected. The following are some examples of these ill-fated vacationers:

o A 9 year old boy was killed at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge after being struck by a passing Disney bus and pulled under its rear wheels. The boy was riding his dirt bike on the day of the collision, wearing his safety helmet and heading south in the same direction as the bus just before the collision.

o A cable snapped on the Xcelerator ride at Knott’s Berry Farm, striking a young boy in the leg, causing a severe gash. He was transported to the hospital and several other riders experienced back and neck injuries. Since the ride was not at the station when this occurred, fire rescue and ride engineers had to free the patrons from the ride because the lap bars did not release.

o A 20 year old man fell 35 feet from the SkyRide at Busch Gardens and broke a bone in his back.

o Five people were injured when an inflatable prop was blown from its anchor points and into the path of an oncoming train at the Griffon ride in Busch Gardens.

o A 20 year old male waiting in the upper queue of a load area climbed over a rail and fell about 20 feet to the lower level. He was taken to the hospital, but his injuries were not serious, so he was released.

o Several riders were injured at the Pony Express ride at Knott’s Berry Farm when two coaster units collided.

o Three people were hospitalized and 18 treated at the scene when a train became stuck on Blackpool’s Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and was struck from behind by a second train.

o Two monorail trains collided at Walt Disney World. One driver was killed.

o A 20 year old man scaled a security fence surrounding the roller coaster, allegedly to retrieve a hat, when he was struck by the train. The man was taken to a local hospital, his condition was unknown.

These are just a few of the incidents that occur at these theme/amusement parks every day. Here are a few safety tips for visits to these attractions:

o Always be aware of what is around you. Many time simple collisions can be a source of theme park injuries.

o Stay away from restricted areas in a theme park. Never go where you don’t belong. Climbing or hopping fences or walking through employee-only gates is just asking for trouble.

o Always read an attraction’s restrictions before you get in line and know your limits.

o You should always know your health condition and whether any problems that you have should keep you off of certain rides.

o Don’t ignore rules or cheat to get yourself or your children on a ride where you don’t belong. Although you might think a ride looks tame enough, sometimes there may be potential problems on that ride that visitors are not aware of – such as a sudden stop, a hidden turn or drop.

o When on any theme park ride, it is essential that you remain seated, keep your hands on the grab bar and make sure that your feet and knees are inside the car at all times.

Everyone wants to get away from it all and have a relaxing, enjoyable vacation, and just keeping a few common sense tips in mind, that can be a reality. Of course, it is possible to be as cautious as you possibly can, and accidents still do occur that are beyond your control. If that is the case, contact one of the attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson and Weisser, P.A. and they will be happy to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for any injuries you might have sustained.