It was a special day for 52-year-old woman who was visiting Six Flags in Arlington for her first time with family. After most likely enduring the long line to finally ride the Texas Giant, known as “the world’s steepest drop,” the woman entered the ride with her son and tragically fell to her death near the beginning of the ride on July 19 around 6:30 pm.
According to the medical examiner’s office, Esparza suffered multiple traumatic injuries during her fall. Although rumors suggest a ride attendant allegedly told Esparza her seat was secured after Esparza voiced concern of not feeling properly restrained, the exact cause of the roller coaster accident is still under investigation by Six Flags Entertainment Corp.
Legal Issues of Roller Coaster Accidents
With the investigation still underway, many people are left with more questions than answers relating to the cause of this accident and what it legally means for everyone involved. To shed some light on this roller coaster accident, our San Diego amusement park accident attorneys will expose crucial legal issues involved.
Roller Coaster Regulation: Even though it may seem like common sense to have rigorous safety measures for all fixed-site amusement park roller coasters across the board, unfortunately that isn’t the case. America has no federal regulation of fixed-site roller coasters and only half of all U.S. states have roller coaster regulations in place. Texas does not (unlike California).
Possible Causes of Roller Coaster Accident: Since Texas does not regulate fixed-site roller coasters, it is very possible that the ride may have had safety bar restraint issues or was improperly used since there are no regulations (weight restrictions, park inspections, etc) in place. Also, the accident could have been caused by the ride attendant’s negligence, which would in turn hold Six Flags liable through vicarious liability. Finally, the victim’s heavier weight could also be a factor in the accident.
Legal Consequences: If the park employee was negligent and the ride’s safety features malfunctioned (product liability), the park and ride manufacturer can be held liable for Esparza’s fatal theme park injuries in a wrongful death lawsuit. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. will most likely argue rider assumption of risk and rider non-compliance with ride safety rules as their defense.
Creating Safer Theme Parks
Jurewitz Law Group strongly encourages Texas and all states with fixed-site roller coasters to implement or heighten roller coaster regulations to prevent further amusement park accidents.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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