The family of a double-amputee veteran who died after being ejected from a roller coaster at the Darien Lake amusement park filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against two companies associated with the park.
The 29-year-old resident of Gowanda, New York was allowed to board a 208-foot-high roller coaster on July 8 despite having no legs. The man was positioned in the front car of the roller coaster when it plummeted down the final hill of ride and flung him out.
According to the family’s attorney, the employees at the theme park violated the safety rules when they allowed the double amputee to ride the roller coaster.
The Buffalo News is reporting two weeks after the accident, the state Labor Department investigators named “operator error” as a cause of the man’s death. The amusement park was cited with two violations by Labor Department officials who said ride operators were not properly trained on safety requirements for the coaster.
The general manager of the theme park supposedly said the park is working on strengthening training operations, performing more safety audits and increasing park awareness on “disability ridership.”
No civil or criminal penalties were placed against the park and the roller coaster was able to reopen on July 22.
Each year, roughly 300 million people enter the gates of different theme parks throughout the United States. The state of Florida is home to many amusement and water parks that have become yearly destinations for families, schools and social organizations. While these parks offer thrills and excitement, accidents are inevitable; however, some tragic mishaps can be entirely preventable. Theme parks are required by law to maintain routine safety inspections and employees that are properly trained to operate rides and roller coasters. Guest safety should without a doubt be a parks number one priority, but unfortunately this is not always the case.
The Orlando and Tampa Florida Amusement & Theme Park Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are devoted to helping you and your family recover from losing a loved one in a horrible accident that could have been avoided if proper protocol was followed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that in the last five years emergency room visits related to amusement park rides rose almost 87 percent. The investigation into these injuries found that several factors were to blame for injuries sustained including consumer behavior, mechanical failure, design limitations, defective products and operator behavior. While injuries from amusement park rides can cause minor to severe injuries and even wrongful death, there is no question that those injured and their families suffer pain and loss.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at an amusement park in Florida, contact the Florida Amusement Park Accident Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or reach us at our Tampa office at 813-221-3200 or call us in Weeki Wachee at 352-666-6666 or dial us toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).