Officials are looking into how 52-year-old Rosa Ayala-Goana fell to her death while riding a rollercoaster the evening of July 19, 2013 at the Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas.
According to a report in the Corpus-Christi Caller, witnesses said the woman was concerned moments before the 14-story Iron Rattler rollercoaster ride began that the safety bar had not completely engaged. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office confirmed that the 52-year-old Dallas resident suffered multiple traumatic injuries during the fall.
Injuries and Investigations
The Caller article states that nearly a dozen people reported being injured in the last five years while riding the same rollercoaster. The most serious injuries reported appear to be a concussion and muscle strains due to jostling. Six Flags Over Texas reported 14 injuries involving the Texas Giant rollercoaster between April 2008 and April 2013, the Texas Department of Insurance records.
Three of those injuries happened either before or after the ride such as tripping on the steps leading to the rollercoaster. The ride has been shut down until officials complete the investigation. Experts have speculated that Ayala-Goana either slipped out from behind a locked mechanism or that the harness mechanism failed and it opened.
Amusement Park Accidents
Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found during their recent study that more than 70 percent of injuries involving amusement park rides and carnival rides among children, happen during the summer months. They looked at rollercoasters as well as rides such as Ferris wheels, carousels and bumper cars. The injuries ranged from head and neck problems to injuries to the face, arms and legs. Soft tissue injuries such as damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons were the most common and serious injuries accounted for a very small percentage.
In such cases, the amusement park or the ride operator can be held liable for injuries and damages to victims. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, physical therapy, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for lost future income, medical expenses and funeral costs as well. An experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled amusement park-related claims will be able to help victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.