Roller Coaster and Amusement Park Accident Liability In Florida
Its amusement park season and families across the country are headed to their favorite amusement parks for an abundance of food, fun and thrill rides. Unfortunately, each summer brings reports of coaster malfunctions, along with employee negligence and acts of nature. These problems often lead to substantial injuries, or even death. According to a report in the Huffington Post, a California roller coaster recently left more than 20 riders dangling in the air after a tree fell onto the tracks. The report states that an entire tree broke away from its foundation, causing the front car to separate from the remainder of the coaster. The riders hung almost 30 feet in the air for hours. Firefighters worked to free the park-goers and two of them were taken to the hospital as a precaution.
This latest accident occurred less than two weeks after another California coaster left riders stranded for hours after a power outage. In July of 2013, a roller coaster incident killed one Texas woman, when she was ejected from her seat. Florida is home to some of the most popular theme parks in the world. Recently, a universal Studio roller coaster malfunctioned, leaving passengers stranded at a 90-degree angle for hours, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. Though no injuries occurred, these types of accidents are not without their emotional consequences.
Roller Coaster Regulations
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) is the federal agency that monitors and responds to roller coaster accidents, though it provides no national standards of regulation. In many states, parks cannot reopen malfunctioning rides until the state division of OSHA signs off on its general functionality. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), amusement park safety within the United States is generally regulated through state and local government agencies. These establishments are also subject to detailed inspections, in order to maintain insurance coverage.
Within the state of Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services governs amusement park rides. According to an ABC news report, parks with less than 1,000 employees are subject to safety inspections by state officials. Larger parks are left to perform their own safety evaluations, with minimal intervention from the government agency. However, park owners are charged with maintaining the safety of all roller coasters in order to maintain their licenses to operate. This includes abiding by all state regulations, including regular safety inspections. These parks are also required to report all incidents to the state.
Though the media tends to only report large scale ride accidents, theme park patrons suffer smaller injuries on roller coaster rides virtually every day. Generally, these accidents are covered under the parks insurance policy. However, the best course of action should include the assistance of an experienced lawyer because these incidents often result in lawsuits against the amusement park, as well as the manufacturer of the roller coaster.
If you or a family member has been injured on an amusement park roller coaster, call Miami based Pita & Del Prado, PA at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation. Put the skills of experienced trial lawyers to work for you.