A fun day at Six Flags turned tragic Friday when a Dallas woman died after falling from a 14-story roller coaster.
Rosy Esparza, fell from a roller coaster car at Six Flags Over Texas while riding the "Texas Giant" coaster, a 23-year-old ride originally promoted as the "tallest wooden roller coaster in the world," reports Reuters.
While details of Esparza's fatal fall have yet to emerge, the Esparza family can potentially sue the park for wrongful death.
Cause of Esparza's Fall
Esparza was making her first trip to Six Flags Over Texas on Friday. Witnesses reported it was a loose restraint that caused her to plummet to the ground, reports Dallas Morning News.
One witness who was waiting in line for the ride said she saw Esparza as the coaster car reached a peak and "she fell out of the cart and just fell out of the sky," reports CBS News.
Deaths from roller coasters are tragic but not uncommon. Often the cause of these fatalities is improper operation, which will likely be considered as the investigation into Esparza's Six Flags death gets underway.
Six Flags' Potential Negligence?
Roller coasters are not the safest mode of transportation or amusement. But theme parks are obligated to provide and maintain proper restraints to keep riders from flying out of the cars, or else the park can potentially be found liable for negligence.
In Esparza's case, Six Flags Over Texas may be found liable for negligent operation of the Texas Giant, especially if they were given notice, as witnesses claim, when Esparza voiced concern about "her lap bar not being secure," reports CBS News.
If Esparza's relatives successfully sue for wrongful death, they could receive money for funeral expenses, potential future earnings, and possibly even punitive damages if a jury finds that Six Flags was somehow reckless or malicious in its actions that led to the woman's death.
Defective Safety Equipment?
However, it is possible that Six Flags did all it could to maintain the ride and ensure Esparza's safety. Perhaps the cause of the fatal fall was a defective safety restraint.
The Dinn Corporation was the manufacturer of the Texas Giant, according to Six Flags' corporate site. The now-defunct company could potentially be held liable for a defective lap restraint or locking mechanism, if it's determined that was the cause of Esparza's death.
Whatever theory the Esparza family and their wrongful death lawyers pursue, it is likely that this case will not see the inside of the courtroom, as most theme park suits are settled (often for a decent amount) out of court.
- Rosy Esparza Identified As Six Flags Roller Coaster Victim; Distraught Son Ran Onto Tracks (The Huffington Post)
- Illinois Boy, 3, Dies on Indoor Roller Coaster (FindLaw's Injured)
- 5 Ways to Sue Over Theme Park Injuries (FindLaw's Injured)
- 10 Injured in Roller Coaster Collision (FindLaw's Injured)