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Amusement Parks Face Personal Injury Lawsuits Linked to Falls

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Los Angeles, CAWith the warmer weather comes increased visits to amusement parks, and news about amusement park accidents. Although theme park injuries and roller coaster accidents are rare, they do happen and the results can be devastating. And even though the incidents that hit the news most frequently report high-adrenaline thrill rides, amusement park guests are at risk of injuries from slip-and-fall or other relatively minor incidents.

According to The Orange County Register (6/13/12), in the past five years Disneyland has faced almost 140 personal injury lawsuits and Knott's Berry Farm has faced 50 such suits. The lawsuits run from those who claimed injuries from park employees to those who suffered after falls, to those who were injured by falling debris. The Register notes that most of the lawsuits are settled before they hit court, although confidentiality clauses mean that the terms of the settlements are rarely released. Of lawsuits that go to a jury, the theme parks each lost only one case.

In one case, Disneyland was ordered to pay more than $540,000 to a woman who alleged she suffered seizures after she was hit in the head by a food-court umbrella. Meanwhile, Knott's Berry Farm was ordered to pay more than $70,000 to a woman who tripped on a gap and suffered a fractured ankle.

Most lawsuits filed against the parks involved trip-and-fall claims, although there were multiple lawsuits against Disneyland involving the Matterhorn ride.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed against Idlewild & SoakZone, alleging workers at the park were negligent in their operation of a ride, which resulted in the plaintiff sustaining injuries. According to TribLive (5/25/12), on June 21, 2010, Georgene Kukich was told to leave the Scrambler even though her seat on the ride finished outside the exit platform. When she stepped out of the ride, she reportedly fell, suffering injuries to her left arm and ribs, swelling, permanent pain and damage to her muscles and bones.

The lawsuit alleges that employees should have known there were problems with the Scrambler.

Although news reports link amusement parks to serious injuries, such as those sustained when an amusement park rider falls from a roller coaster, many injuries happen from less serious incidents but can cause permanent damage.


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