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Settlement Reached in Amusement Park Accident Lawsuit

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Buffalo, NYA lawsuit filed after a tragic amusement park accident has been resolved in a confidential settlement, according to reports. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed after a roller coaster accident took the life of an Iraq war veteran.

According to WKBW (1/8/13), the terms of the settlement with Darien Lake Amusement Park are confidential, but the victim’s daughters will receive a seven-figure amount after they turn 18. The victim, Army Sgt. James Hackemer, suffered traumatic brain injuries and lost his two legs and part of his hip due to a roadside bomb. In 2011, he visited Darien Lake Amusement Park and rode the “Ride of Steel” roller coaster. Due to his lack of body mass, Hackemer was ejected from the roller coaster and died of his injuries.

The lawsuit alleged inadequate training resulted in the operator improperly allowing Hackemer on the ride when he should not have been. The amusement park owner agreed to the settlement without admitting liability. According to Buffalo News (1/8/13), the lawsuit, which alleged recklessness and negligence on the part of the amusement park’s owners and manager, was filed after an investigation cited operator error as the cause of the accident.

Although the amusement park had signs displaying rules that riders must have two legs to go on the rides, park employees did not question Hackemer when he went on the ride.

Meanwhile, a doctor has lost her claim against Cedar Fair LP, owner of Great America amusement park. Dr. Smriti Nalwa was riding a bumper car at the park when the car she was in was hit head-on. According to The Patch (1/10/13), Nalwa braced herself against the dashboard and broke her wrist when the collision occurred. She sued the amusement park for not taking steps to prevent this sort of accident, arguing the ride could be redone so the cars all travel in one direction.

The California Supreme Court ruled that the wrist injury was a normal, assumed risk of the ride.

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