Imagine leaving your Saint Petersburg home, going to an amusement park with your family, and arriving full of excitement and anticipation. Now, imagine leaving that park in the back of an ambulance with a broken bone or a brain injury. Unfortunately, that is a circumstance faced by many individuals throughout the world each year. While the majority of passengers will get on a ride, receive the thrill that they seek, and get off without any real issues, there are a few that won’t be so lucky.
A woman who was among the unfortunate few is now suing Dolly Parton and the amusement park that is her namesake. Dollywood is an amusement destination visited by many people each year. Most have considered it a great deal of fun and a place worth visiting again. Tedi Brown was not one of them. During her time there, the park was hit by a storm, which involved rain and sleet. Unfortunately, the weather pattern made ride operation unsafe. This determination was not made until after Brown suffered a serious fall from one of the rides.
She is a Florida resident who visited the park with her five children in December 2013. The ride is called the Waltzing Swinger and is similar to rides seen at many fairs and amusement parks. Very likely if you have traveled outside St. Petersburg to an amusement park recently, you have seen one like it. Swings circle round and round, carrying passengers 25 feet above the ground. Those passengers are not restrained, but swing freely in the chair-like seats, with just a sliding lap bar to hold them in.
Brown thought the ride was coming to a stop and lifted the bar prematurely. Once she realized that she was still far too high up to safely exit, she tried to readjust herself and pull the bar back into place. The slippery surfaces prevented her from doing so. She lost her grip and plummeted to the ground. The result was permanent damage to her neck and spine. The family is now suing for close to half a million dollars to help cover some of the costs she will undoubtedly incur as a result.
This is not the first accident of its kind. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several statements in the past, warning people about the dangers of such rides. Perhaps the danger is part of the thrill, but more than 8,000 people are injured annually as a result of amusement park rides. More than 3,000 are hurt while on water slides. Thousands more are hurt in bounce houses and other inflatables. While some are fortunate, and walk away with aches and pains that heal, others are not so lucky.
Brown was not among the majority, who are children between the ages of 10 and 14. This young population could be highly impacted as a result of an eagerness to partake in every attraction while at such parks, but often it also has to do with the small bodies and lighter masses. All too often these incidents are a result of mechanical failures or operator negligence. It is essential to trust one’s instincts and avoid unnecessary risky situations when bad weather, high winds, or other such circumstances arise. If you feel that someone else put you in greater danger than necessary, resulting in lasting injury, seek legal representation as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you collect compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages.