Six Flags Roller Coaster Death
While amusement parks typically bring images of laughter, sharing snacks and partaking in thrilling adventures on the various rides, such was not the case for a woman and her family at Six Flags Amusement Park in Arlington, Texas on July 19, 2013. What should have been a fun-filled day with her family led to her Six Flags roller coaster death.
The woman, identified as Rosy Esparza by relatives and Rosa Ayala-Goana by the coroner, was settling into the “Texas Giant” coaster, a ride originally touted as being the tallest roller coaster in the world. Witnesses say that Esparza was unsure whether her restraint was latched properly and was told by the attendant that if she heard a “click,” it was secure. Unfortunately, the ride was not latched and Esparza fell to her death. The woman’s children were on the ride with her, and they were reportedly screaming for their mother after the ride came to a finish.
A medical examiner has ruled the cause of her death as multiple traumatic injuries resulting from her fall. The ride will remain closed until an independent expert investigates the situation and clears it for further use. While exact details have yet to emerge, her surviving family may be eligible to sue the park for wrongful death and product liability.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Nearly everyone can agree that roller coasters are not the safest form of amusement or transportation; however, theme parks are under an obligation to both provide and maintain proper restraints to keep the riders secure in the cars. If theme parks fail to meet this obligation, they can often be found liable for wrongful death or negligence.
In instances similar to the Six Flags roller coaster death, the park and its attendants may be found liable for negligent operation of the ride, particularly if the operators were given notice when a guest expresses concern about lap bars not being secure, as was the case with Esparza, according to witnesses.
According to those sitting around her, the operator was reportedly nonchalant when Esparza expressed concern about her restraint and was quoted as saying, “As long as you heard it click, you’re fine.” This claim was tragically and fatally incorrect and may have partly caused the Six Flags roller coaster death. The locking mechanism on many of these rides does not necessarily function like a seatbelt in a car; instead, it works by increasingly adding tension and pressure to lock down farther. With each “click,” the bar is held farther down into place; the first “click” barely offers any protection against the forces experienced by riders.
If Esparza’s relatives are able to sue for the Six Flags roller coaster death, they may be entitled to receive money for potential future earnings, funeral expenses and punitive damages if the jury finds that the park was somehow malicious or reckless in its actions that resulted in the woman’s death.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Additionally, her family may be able to file a product liability lawsuit resulting from the Six Flags roller coaster death. It may be the case that the park did everything in its power to ensure her safety and maintain the ride in its proper working condition. A jury may decide that the cause of the fall was a defective or faulty safety restraint.
The manufacturer of the Texas Giant, the Dinn Corporation, may be at fault for causing the Six Flags roller coaster death if they incorrectly designed the seat restraint system. Many believe that the seats should function like a car seat; either they lock or they don’t. There should not be any “middle ground” that could fool an inexperienced operator from believing it is fully locked when it isn’t. Both the rider and the operator should be able to pull firmly on the bar and know for sure that it is locked and can withstand the strong forces during the course of the ride.
Additionally, investigators of the Six Flags roller coaster death may hold the manufacturer accountable for a defective locking mechanism or lap restraint, if it is determined that the malfunctioning apparatus caused the woman’s death. The seat may have been designed well, but if it was not built or maintained according to safety standards, the restraint should have worked, in theory, but failed to do so.
Contact Our Attorneys
If you have been injured at an amusement park or you have lost a loved one in a situation similar to the Six Flags roller coaster death, contact our office today. At Attorney Group for Georgia, we can work to determine if you are eligible to pursue a claim and on what grounds you may file a lawsuit. We can help to get you compensated for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one; you may be entitled to receive damages for injuries, medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages.