Self-Reporting System at Theme Parks Still Needs Improvement

It was only a few weeks ago that the fatality accident at Six Flags Over Texas claimed the life of one unsuspecting victim – a middle-aged woman who fell to her death after not being properly secured in her seat while riding on the park’s infamous Texas Giant roller coaster. Since the accident, a slew of serious investigations and assessments have been put underway, all of which are geared toward identifying how to prevent such accidents from occurring in the future and how to regulate amusement parks when no federal laws exist.

Approximately 14 years prior to the July 19th tragedy that ended in death for one park visitor, Six Flags Over Texas was the source of another controversial and unsettling death at the park just 2 weeks ago. At the time, investigations revealed that the park, along with several other major amusement facilities in the state, had a very poor history of reporting accidents that occured on their premises. While today local amusement parks seems to be doing a much better job of reporting and documenting incidents of injury accidents and death at their facilities, there is unquestionably still room for improvement.

State laws in Texas mandate that amusement park operators must report any serious injury to occur at the park; however, minor injuries are exempted from required reporting. Bumps, bruises, and injuries that can be treated by First Aid do not have to be officially documented in the same way that serious injuries and fatalities do. Despite such regulations, recent research into the lawsuits that have been filed against Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor (which is owned by Six Flags) found that three legally claimed injuries from the past five years weren’t reported to the state at all. Six Flags has yet to release a statement about this glaring discrepancy.

Currently, the Texas system for reporting amusement park injuries relies upon the state Department of Insurance to inform of any injuries that occur. What has been found, however, is that this system of self-reporting has only recently begun to hold any credibility. Over the course of the past five years, injury statistics and information about different theme parks has been made available online, which has increasingly heightened the overall awareness and reliability of the self-reporting system. Before now, several undocumented accounts of amusement park injuries were inadvertently discovered after the fact, including:

  • 30 unreported injuries at Arlington parks, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • 100 unreported injuries at 3 amusement parks in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express-News
  • 1 undocumented account of neck and head injuries to a the visitor of a Hurricane Harbor Park, in which the visitor was harmed while riding in an inner tube on a water slide; a lawsuit is pending, but the incident was never reported to the state

Clearly, the improved self-reporting methods utilized by amusement parks throughout the state of Texas still have far to go in terms of the regulation and documentation of injuries at these facilities. Until a stronger, more reliable system is implemented, we can almost assume that some injuries at amusement parks in areas across Texas will continue to go undocumented and / or unreported. Similar situations are occurring in states all over the country, which is why our California amusement park injury lawyers offer professional legal help to those in need. If you were injured or otherwise harmed while visiting a theme park in California, Texas, or anywhere else, don’t wait to speak with a personal injury attorney about the matter as soon as possible.

If you’re looking for an attorney for an amusement park accident in California, then contact The Senators Firm today.