Amusement parks advertise themselves as safe, enjoyable places for the whole family to have fun. Those responsible for constructing, maintaining and managing these attractions are held to the highest standard to ensure that injuries don't occur.
That's why five people are currently being charged in the death of a 10-year-old boy who suffered a fatal injury on a Kansas waterslide, CNN reports. The incident happened in 2016: the 10-year-old son of a state legislator was killed while riding the Verrückt, the world's tallest water slide, at Schlitterbahm Waterpark.
The parties currently being held accountable for the fatal accident include:
- The co-owner of Schlitterbahm
- Two designers of the Verrückt water slide (facing second-degree murder charges)
- The construction company involved in building the Verrückt water slide
- The park's former director of operations (involuntary manslaughter)
Additionally, all five defendants are facing charges of aggravated battery and aggravated child endangerment for injuries incurred prior to the 2016 fatality.
In response to this tragic event, Kansas lawmakers have tightened regulations on the state's amusement parks. Signed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback, the recently passed law requires that all amusement parks undergo a thorough annual inspection by a national board-certified inspector and a certified engineer with years of experience in the amusement park field.
Additionally, state law now requires that amusement parks provide certification that the park has met the standards set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) international F24 committee.
Amusement park injuries happen more frequently than you think
Amusement parks attract thrill-seekers from all over, and while most park visitors leave without any injuries, there is no guarantee that a ride will not malfunction.
Ridesdatabase.org reported that water slide injuries often occur due to the slippery design of most of these attractions. When combined with high speeds and lack of proper safeguards, these conditions can be a recipe for disaster.
Accidents often include:
- Colliding with other patrons while sliding
- Falling out of inflatable devices
- Impact with hard surfaces
According to a 2013 study conducted by Sage Journals, roughly 12 children are treated for injuries relating to amusement park rides every day in the United States. This accounts for 6.24 injuries per 100,000 US children. Head and neck injuries made up 28 percent of all injuries, while soft tissue injuries made up 29.4 percent.
Other injuries often include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts, bruises and contusions
- Injuries to joints and ligaments
- Organ damage
- Spinal injuries
What to do if you've been injured at a Kansas amusement park
In the event that you or a loved one were injured at a Kansas amusement park, your first course of action should be to seek immediate medical attention. You should also seek the legal advocacy of a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling premises liability cases.
Those who are responsible for ensuring the safety of the park may have violated state regulations. In that case, they can be held accountable for their negligence.
Contact Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We can answer your questions and help you weigh your options.