On July 8, 2011, a decorated Iraq ware veteran died after flying out of a roller coaster at Darien Lake Amusement Park in New York. The 29 year-old army veteran lost both legs an a hip in a roadside bombing in Iraq in 2008. When boarding the coaster called Ride of Steel, the park employees in charge of safety checks failed to follow the rules, and as a result, the veteran was unsecure in the roller coaster seat.
According to an attorney speaking on behalf of the veteran’s family, employees were negligent when they allowed the double amputee to ride the coaster. He was visibly unable to be properly secured into his seat because of his condition, and employees failed to follow Darien Park’s safety rules when they allowed the veteran to ride the roller coaster.
Sometime during the ride, he was thrown from the 208 foot-high roller coaster. The veteran was ejected from the front care of the ride, as the ride plummeted down the ride’s last hill.
Although the family of the deceased originally made a public statement claiming that they did not blame the park for the veteran’s death, following a better understanding of the park employees’ negligence, the veteran’s family has decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against two companies associated with the park who had responsibility for training employees and ensuring that employees followed safety rules. New York State Labor Department investigators cited Darien Lake Amusement Park, stating that “operator errors” were factors in the veteran’s death.
To date, the amusement park has not been charged with any other criminal penalties, but it has been noted that an Olean man was awarded $4 million by a jury following an accident on the same roller coaster, in 1999.
The deceased leaves behind two young children, and other members of a devastated family. The wrongful death suit, filed on behalf of the veteran’s estate, was brought against CNL Income Darien Lake LLC, which is the real estate firm who owns the theme park property, and Herschend Family Entertainment, which is the company that manages the amusement park. Both companies have responsibility in ensuring that employees are properly trained and follow safety rules.
Wrongful death lawsuits allow families who have lost loved ones to recover for the loss of monetary support that the individual would have contributed through future work, as well as for the loss of companionship, or the time that the family would have had to spend with the person. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in handling these types of cases, and understand the emotional difficulties that follow tragic accidents. If you have a loved one who was killed by another’s negligent acts, an attorney may be the best person to help you understand your rights.