Articles Posted in Amusement Park Accidents

After less than a day of deliberation, a Chicago jury awarded Tierney Darden $148 million for a shelter collapse outside O’Hare Airport that ripped her spinal cord in half, leaving her permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in constant pain.

In August 2015, Tierney, her mother, and sister had just returned to Chicago after traveling to Minneapolis to pick out a wedding dress for her sister. The three were waiting outside O’Hare under one of several pedestrian shelters found at the airport. A storm caused the shelter to suddenly collapse, trapping Tierney, now 26. After the accident, CBS 2 investigators found corroded parts and missing bolts and screws in not only the shelter that collapsed, but in nearly all others. The discovery and exposure forced O’Hare to remove all pedestrian shelters.

Tierney, a former dancer at Truman College, told CBS 2 of the accident “I hate it. I hate that I have to wake up every day and see it.”

An 18 year old was killed last night after a passenger car on a ride broke off at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. Seven others are injured, 3 of whom are said to be in critical condition and have been sent to local hospitals, including the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. David Evans, medical director at Ohio State, told news outlets that viewing footage of the accident was helpful because it showed those treating the victims that the injuries came from an accident similar to that of a high speed vehicle crash.

The ride, called the Fire Ball, is a swinging pendulum that lifts cars filled with riders into the air before swinging back to the center and back up in the air in the opposite direction. According to eyewitnesses, an entire car suddenly snapped off while at its highest point in the air and hurtled passengers to the cement below.

According to the lead inspector, the ride was inspected ‘about 3 or 4 times’ in the span of 2 days and showed no problems. The ride was also said to have been inspected yesterday, just hours before the fatal malfunction.

There are many favorite American pastimes, and one that has seemed to continually gain popularity is visiting amusement parks. While the ferris wheels of yester year still exist and are an enjoyable tradition, the amusement parks of today often consist of thrilling rides to quench the thirst of the adrenaline seeker. However, as American amusement park rides get bigger and better, so must the safety standards that go with them. These two things – a terrifying coaster and adhering to safety – must coincide.

The law of premises liability includes amusement and theme parks. Because the guests of these parks are paying patrons, known under tort law as invitees, they must be afforded the utmost care by the landowners and operators. Under the legal duty owed to invitees, landowners and operators must routinely inspect the grounds for known dangers, remedy any discovered dangers in a timely manner, and make invitees aware of any known dangers. Where an invitee is injured on the ground due to a danger that should have been known of or already fixed, then the amusement park can be held liable for negligence in a lawsuit. The plaintiff must then prove that their injuries and suffering were the result of negligence by the park where as a patron they should have been warned about the danger, or the danger should have been discovered by the park and fixed.

According to recent news by KTLA 5 a Six Flags Magic Mountain rollercoaster, known as Colossus, caught fire and collapsed. The roller coaster had been closed for renovation and was being worked on by crews at the time of the fire who were using heat equipment. No injuries from smoke and falling debris have yet been reported, and the accident is still under investigation. Photos from the accident show a pillar of smoke rising from the peak, the highest point in the ride. Portions of the rollercoaster were charred black, and planks of began to fall to the ground below, and then eventually part of the track collapsed.
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Imagine that you’ve done it. You’ve seen all of the commercials and heard all of the hype. You are finally going to face your fears. You travel to your nearest amusement park and get in line for that notorious crazy adrenaline-inducing coaster you’ve been hearing about for months. Finally, it’s your turn, and you board the coaster, take off for your ride, and become stuck upside down.

This is extremely frightening to think about happening, but it unfortunately occurred to patrons of Six Flags, according to a recent article by Slate. Two dozen patrons of the amusement park were stranded on the ride “Joker’s Jinx” 75 feet in the air for five hours. Firefighters had to put up a 105-foot tower ladder in order to reach the track of the ride. They then removed some fencing around the ride in order to access the cars in which the people were trapped. The firefighters then had to remove people from the cars via buckets by placing harnesses on each rider and lowering them one at a time. The first responders also had to bring those stranded on the ride water, umbrellas, and sunblock to prevent sun-stricken and heat injuries. Authorities are still investigating the cause as to why the ride stopped.
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Most parents already have a lot to worry about regarding their children’s playtime and potential injuries, from falling off their bicycles to getting hurt on the swings and jungle gym and many other possibilities that result in typical childhood injuries involving band-aids, stitches, and signed casts. However, until now, most parents probably were not concerned or even considered the possibility that their children could fly away while at play. However, thanks to all of the recent news involving bounce house injuries; this is now one more cause for concern for parents.

From birthday parties, local fairs, and school events, we have all seen the beloved bounce houses that so many have enjoyed during their youth. However, recent news stories have reported on a lack of safety precautions that have caused these inflated houses to literally fly away with children still inside. According to one report by NBC News, one bounce house took off and rolled hundreds of feet with two children inside. Set up at a lacrosse field, the wind picked up and caused the house with an attached inflatable slide to tumble down the field. Witnesses looked on fearfully and described the incident like a plastic bag caught in the wind. Several attempted to save the children and run after the rolling bounce house. When the house took flight, one girl was on board the slide and flew eight feet into the air. According to the local fire department, the house traveled between 200 to 300 feet before coming to a stop in a nearby pond. The children inside the bounce house required medical attention. It was reported that winds at the time were about 30 mph, which makes many question why the bounce house was not secured for the conditions.

In another incident, also reported by NBC News, a bounce house soared over twenty feet into the air with three children still inside. Two required hospitalization for serious personal injuries. Although staked to the ground, wind uprooted this bounce house and caused it to take flight. Witnesses compared the event like a horror movie as they looked on, unable to help the children inside the bounce house that flew higher than the surrounding buildings and trees. One boy fell from the house and landed in the street. Another landed in a nearby apartment parking lot after hitting his head on a car and falling to the ground.
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Winter time is an especially popular time for outdoor sports, such as skiing and snowboarding. Thanks to its often-snowy conditions, Illinois, including the Chicago area, offers many options for winter sports fanatics, including cross country ski trails, ice-skating rinks and outdoor ski parks as attractions for the local communities. However, if there are not proper supervision or safety regulations in place at these facilities, both employees and patrons can face many hazards.

According to one article by the Algonquin-Lake in the HIlls Patch, a teenage employee was admitted to the intensive care unit of a local hospital after an accident at the Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park. Reports indicate that the employee’s arm got stuck in a “roller brush” that cleans snow from the ski conveyor lift. Firefighters had to cut the machinery apart to free the worker.

There are no current reports showing what caused the work accident to occur but the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident to determine if there were any safety violations, if the employee had been adequately trained, and if the machinery at issue had the proper safety mechanism to lock out while being serviced.

On Christmas Eve, seven children suffered personal injuries on an amusement park ride in Utica, according to ABC Chicago. The children were visiting the Enchanted Forest Amusement Park at the Grand Bear Lodge on Christmas Eve. As a result of a malfunction on the tea cup ride in the hotel’s indoor amusement park, the victims suffered injuries and had to be hospitalized. The amusement park remained open for the holiday, but the tea cup ride was closed so that inspectors and local authorities could inspect it for the cause of the accident and the existing dangers it poses.

Amusement park owners owe a duty to their patrons to maintain safety on the premises and to take precaution so that preventable injuries do not occur. Under Illinois tort law, a business owner is required to take both preventative measures and to fix existing known dangers, where the owner of the premises is aware of the likelihood of injury to patrons paying to visit and enjoy the amusement park. These measures include regular safety inspections of rides and attractions to ensure a decreased risk of preventable injuries to park visitors. A park cannot simply fail to inspect its attractions, and where injury occurs as a result of a hazard, claim that the park was not aware of such dangers. Being willfully blind to dangers on the premises is not a sufficient defense and will not overcome the duty that amusement parks owe to its visitors.

Our premises liability attorneys understand that when accident and injury occurs on a business owner’s premises, the owner can be legally responsible where negligence is tied to the injury. If you or someone in your family has suffered an injury at the result of another’s negligence on their property, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and medical bills. In the past, our firm has handled premises liability cases and recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. If you have suffered an injury on an Illinois business owner’s property, please contact our firm for a free consultation.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers read with concern about the latest outbreak of E. Coli poisoning that sickened more than 27 people attending a state fair, reports MSNBC.

According to State Heath and Agriculture officials, a building at the state fair that housed goats, pigs, and sheep was likely the source of the contamination. Officials speculate that the permanent structure is a breeding ground for the E. Coli bacteria, and people were likely infected with the illness when they visited the live animal exhibit. State officials have also proclaimed that no other exhibits, activities, or foods at the fair were linked to the outbreak, which makes animal contact an even more likely culprit for infection.

Escherichia Coli, or E. Coli as it is more commonly called, is a type of bacteria known to cause illness in humans. The E. Coli bacterium originates from the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals where it serves to produce vitamin K. It most commonly affects humans by way of consumption of contaminated food, and it is transferred to food products by fecal contamination. In this case, however, it is likely that the disease was transferred directly from the animals themselves.

Every Chicago injury lawyer at our firm knows that the sight of colorful, castle-like bounce houses is becoming quite common at area festivals, birthday parties, and similar children’s events. More and more local children convince their parents to let them clamber inside these inflatable devices and bounce in the trampoline-esque structure. However, many parents remain unaware of the dangers hidden in these devices. The prevalence of risks has led to many bounce house injury lawsuits.

Young children fall victim to those accidents in a variety of ways. For one thing, the often chaotic bouncing patterns and flying bodies often result in collisions and awkward falls which cause serious injury. Beyond that, the improper tethering and staking of these objects often leads to serious injury. KGUN News reported earlier this month on three separate bounce houses that had blown away in the wind, injuring several children.

The latest bounce house accident occurred at an elementary school graduation party. A strong wind came through the party and eventually picked up the poorly secured house and blew it straight into a light pole. Fortunately, several at the party quickly ushered out the children when the wind picked up and they avoided major injury.

A Chicago personal injury lawyer knows that other victims have not been so lucky. In two separate bounce house accidents that occurred in the area previously, castles were blown away with children inside. In one of those cases a little girl flew with the airborne inflatable and was severely injured when the house landed on a rooftop. In the other case two children were trapped in a bounce house that slammed them into the middle of the road. They were severely hurt in the accident.
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The past ten to twenty years have seen a sharp rise in the popularity of trampolines. At first the exercise and entertainment products began popping up in backyards across the country. However, our Chicago injury attorneys have observed that the fitness and entertainment product is taking a more organized turn with the creation of spaces known as “trampoline parks.” These are large warehouse-like facilities where trampolines are lined up like a checkerboard.

According to the Chicago Tribune, these trampoline parks first gained popularity on the West Coast, but locations are now being built throughout Illinois. Many safety advocates are concerned about the increased risk of participants suffering a Chicago personal injury due to the activity. For example, since it opened in November, ambulances have been called to one Chicago area trampoline park 16 times to help an injured participant. In one incident, a 13-year old girl fell on her head and reported tingling in her arms and difficulty breathing, suffering a fracture in her neck.

Experts explain that 11 people have been killed because of trampoline accidents in the last decade. Nationwide nearly 100,000 trampoline injuries are reported each year. Area hospitals like Central DuPage Hospital report that they have seen a noticeable increase in traumatic injuries since the nearby park opened, including broken legs, arms, and even one head injury.

These parks are currently not regulated by Illinois state agencies like other amusement parks. The Department of Labor explains how only those parks that have moving apparatus are under the regulatory guidelines of the state. Therefore the regulation of these spaces is often done by local governments which frequently have little oversight of the process.
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