A settlement has been reached by the family of a double average Iraqi vet, who died in a roller coaster accident, and the amusement park where the accident occurred. The vet, James Hackemer was killed in July 2011, when he fell off the roller coaster. Hackemer was a double amputee and had lost both of his legs in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in 2008.
On the day of the accident, the 29-year-old veteran was at the Darien Lake Theme Park and Resort with his family, including 2 young daughters aged 3 and 4. Hackemer got on the roller coaster ride. He was not wearing his prosthetic legs at the time. However, unknown to him, the ride was not safe for someone without the use of both of his legs.
Hackemer fell off the roller coaster when it was on the 2nd highest hill, suffering fatal injuries. Investigations later found that he had struck the front of the train, and fell about 150 feet down. He suffered fatal injuries, and died. Investigations also found that the vet had come out of his seat and the restraints when the roller coaster reached the 2nd highest hill. At the time of the accident, the roller coaster was going at 70 mph.
Investigations concluded that the operator had been negligent, and had not followed the rules that were posted on the ride. Operator error was blamed for the accident. The rules posted at the entrance of the ride clearly stated that persons need to have the use of both legs in order to use that particular ride.
The family of the vet has now reached a settlement with the amusement park. The details of the settlement have not been made public.
You don’t expect to be injured when you get on a ride in an amusement park. However, every year, California premises liability lawyers find that dozens of accidents occur in amusement parks across the country. Theme parks and amusement parks have a responsibility to ensure that their rides are safe for use, by ensuring that operators are trained, and that the rides are well-maintained, and properly functioning. Failure to do so can result in a premises liability lawsuit against the park.