Lawsuit Filed after Rollercoaster Accident at Major California Amusement Park

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When parents take their children and families to amusement parks, they expect to experience a safe, fun day of thrills and entertainment. For the majority of guests, this is certainly the experience they enjoy. However, for a small number of visitors, their day of family fun can transform into a nightmare where serious bodily injuries are inflicted. Unfortunately, unlike a nightmare, the consequences of an amusement park accident do not vanish in an instant when the person wakes up.  Rather, these injuries cause pain and suffering for months or years as the injured park guest recovers. In some cases, the injuries are permanent.

Unfortunately, a family from Utah allege that their son experienced and continues to experience this exact scenario stemming from a family visit to Knott’s Berry Farm.

What Does the Family Allege Occurred at the Theme Park?

The Burrei family claim that their son suffered a horrific accident on a Knott’s Berry Farm rollercoaster known as the Coast Rider. Their lawyer, claims that the attraction has a “dangerous history.”  He also claims that another accident occurred at the park ride months earlier.

The family claims that their son went to exit the rollercoaster because he thought that the ride was over. He was able to exit the coaster car. However, as he was exiting the car, the ride began to move again. The family claims that they were screaming, “stop the ride” repeatedly. While the ride operator was apparently able to bring the ride to a halt, the action did not come soon enough. The boy’s foot became wedged and the force of the motion caused significant injuries including ripping the skin off his foot, bone fractures, and significant nerve damage.

What Treatment Did the Boy Seek for his Rollercoaster Accident Injuries?

The family states that the rollercoaster accident occurred in the summer of 2014. They state that he has sought medical treatment for his injuries since they occurred. Immediately following the injury, the family states that he spent three days hospitalized. During the hospitalization, the boy underwent surgery and skin grafts. Thereafter, the boy spent several month in a wheelchair due to the injuries he suffered. He has undergone physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion in the foot. The family claims that the boy is still without feeling in part of his foot due to the nerve damage he sustained.

The family claims that medical bills for the injury total to “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The family claims that the park has admitted to making alterations to the ride following the accident.

How Does Knott’s Claim the Accident Occurred?

Knott’s hasn’t issued an explanation of the exact events that transpired on the day. Rather, in a statement to a local news organization a representative from Knott’s Berry Farm indicated that, “Knott’s Berry Farm can’t comment on legal matters, and our thoughts are with Carson for a full and speedy recovery. The safety of our guests and employees remains Knott’s top priority.”

However, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation into the incident did not place any fault on the park for the accident. Furthermore, the agency determined that the ride was in working order at the time of the accident.

What Does the Agency Determination Mean for this Amusement Park Lawsuit?

The agency determination is likely to be used as proof by the park that no negligence or oversight giving rise to liability occurred. While the agency determination does not conclusively rule out legal liability, it does present an obstacle for injury claims. The family and their attorney will need to engage in extensive discovery to show that the investigation missed some fact or circumstance that would give rise to responsibility for the accident.

However, since the accident is now nearly two years in the past, it may be difficult of impossible to obtain evidence of this type. In the lag between the injury and the filing of the lawsuit, surveillance recording may have been deleted as part of routine practice. Witnesses from outside the family may be more difficult to locate. Furthermore, even if the witnesses are located, their memory of the incident may not be as sharp as it once was. Furthermore, the family’s claims that repairs were made has altered the physical layout and operation of the ride and may make reconstruction of the events more difficult.

Our Amusement Park Accident Injury Attorneys Can Look Into Your Case

Therefore, if you suffer a serious life-altering serious injury at an amusement park, it is essential to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Prompt handling of the claim can reduce the likelihood the evidence is lost or destroyed.