Pennsylvania is home to more roller coasters than just about every other state, including an especially high number of classic wooden coasters. While most thrill seekers board and enjoy these rides safely, sometimes accidents happen. A person may sustain serious—and even fatal—injuries due to negligent operation or maintenance by theme park staff and ride manufacturers.
If you were injured while on a ride, get in touch with a Johnstown roller coaster accident lawyer as soon as possible about the possibility of financial recovery through civil litigation. Cases of this nature tend to be especially complex and difficult to pursue effectively, which makes assistance from a knowledgeable premises liability attorney essential for anyone harmed in this way.
When maintained properly and operated carefully, roller coasters provide extremely safe experiences with very low chances of harming any rider or onlooker nearby. However, there are several ways an individual park employee, park management, or even a third-party manufacturer or mechanic could make the simulated danger aboard a roller coaster entirely too real.
First and foremost, amusement park employees must strictly enforce safety precautions regarding who can ride certain coasters, including height and weight restrictions for riders. Failure to do so, or failure to ensure that a rider’s safety restraints are secured properly before the coaster leaves the boarding station, could lead to a rider falling out while the ride is in motion. Any injury stemming from an employee’s negligence could open his or her employer up to vicarious liability for ensuing losses.
Additionally, both maintenance professionals and the companies that employ them must ensure that the braking systems, restraints, wheels, and tracks of a roller coaster are in safe working order before the ride opens each operating day, and they must react promptly to potential mechanical and/or safety issues. In some cases, as a Johnstown roller coaster accident attorney could further explain, fault for an incident caused by a malfunction or defect could lie not only with the parties responsible for operating and maintaining the ride, but also the company that manufactured the faulty component(s) in the first place.
As with personal injuries that occur under other circumstances, roller coaster injury claims are subject to a “modified comparative fault” system codified in 42 P.S. §7102. Under this system, an injured plaintiff found partially at-fault for causing or worsening her own injury could have her damage award reduced in proportion to the percentage of total responsibility she has for the accident. For example, a victim who is 15% at fault will have her award reduced by 15 percent.
Additionally, any person found more to blame for his own injuries than all named defendants combined is ineligible to recover any compensation whatsoever—a legal roadblock that amusement park operators very often try to take advantage of following accidents of this nature. Representation from a skilled roller coaster injury lawyer in Johnstown could be just as crucial to disproving allegations of comparative fault as it could be to proving someone else’s liability for a particular accident.
While accidents on roller coasters are rare in modern times, they do still happen occasionally and often result in devastating injuries. To make matters worse, recovering monetary damages for the effects of an accident like this can be a uniquely complicated endeavor, especially without support from a seasoned legal professional.
After suffering injuries on a ride, contacting a Johnstown roller coaster accident lawyer should be a top priority. Call Marcus & Mack today for an initial consultation.