Six Flags Accidents and Injuries
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, one of 18 amusement parks owned and operated in North America by Six Flags, is located in Vallejo, California and is the closest amusement park to Sacramento. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom boasts 7 popular roller coasters, 5 thrill rides, 5 family rides, 3 water rides, and 20 kiddie rides, as well as animal attractions including exhibits and interactive experiences. The park opened in 1968 and covers more than 68 acres. Six Flags is the largest amusement park chain in the world, inviting almost 24 million guests to its parks annually, making it the fifth most-visited theme park in the world.
Six Flags is notorious for incidents resulting in serious injuries to park goers, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is no exception. Because the park boasts many zoo-like features, exhibits, and live shows, animal attacks are common. In 1996, two individuals were injured by cougars when the cougars scratched their faces and abdomen. In 1998, during a private photo session, a tiger attacked a park goer when the individual accidentally fell on it. In 2004, an elephant gored in individual.
In addition, accidents commonly occur on Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s many rides. The majority of the ride-related accidents are caused by negligence. Notable accidents include: the shut down of the Boomerang ride that caused 28 passengers to sit trapped for several hours in the hot sun while upside-down, a small boy sliding under the restraining bar of the Scat-a-bout and being flung off the ride, a woman flying off of the Starfish when a faulty restraining bar gave way, and a small girl slipping under the restraining bar and falling.
When an accident occurs at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, investigators look into the cause of the accident. While a small number of accidents are caused by rider error, such as refusal to adhere to posted signs and crew member instructions, the vast majority of Six Flags injuries are caused by ride operator and amusement park negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise a reasonable duty of care, thereby resulting in injuries. Parties only owe a duty of care to individuals if California statutory or case law mandates that responsibility, usually based on the nature of the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. An amusement park operates for the benefit of the public. It provides rides, food, and entertainment to public consumers in exchange for money. Therefore, it is required to provide a safe experience for all park goers. This includes every aspect of the amusement park, such as the rides and animal exhibits.
A ride operator may be negligent when he or she:
- Fails to ensure that restraint belts and bars are properly secured
- Fails to provide adequate safety instructions
- Is careless or reckless in the operation of the ride
- Does not adhere to training, instructions or safety protocol
Six Flags may be negligent when it:
- Fails to provide proper warning signs
- Fails to regularly inspect rides
- Fails to maintain upkeep of the rides
- Fails to fix all mechanical issues prior to allowing passengers on the ride
- Fails to properly screen, train, and supervise ride operators
In addition, Six Flags may be sued when its ride operator has acted negligently under the theory of vicarious liability. An amusement park is responsible for injuries caused by its employees when those employees are on-the-clock, are working within the scope of employment, and act carelessly, thereby causing an accident. A ride operator negligently operating a ride is acting within the scope of employment.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an amusement park accident, call me now at 916.921.6400.