Many New Jersey residents go to amusement parks for enjoyment at some point during the summer. When it comes to amusement, though, roller coasters are the gold standard for both thrilling and frightening riders. Unfortunately, as one recent accident in another state shows, a roller-coaster ride can turn more frightening and actually life threatening if something goes wrong.

In this accident four people were injured when a tree branch fell on the tracks of a roller coaster and caused the partial derailment of several cars at the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Twenty-two riders were stuck for several hours as the cars dangled off the track. Four people were injured, and two of them were taken to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The ride has been closed pending an investigation.

Statistics from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions for 2011 show such incidents are rare, with patrons having just a one in 24 million chance of being injured in an amusement park. However, as amusement park attendance increases, so do the chances that someone will be hurt or killed. The Center for Injury and Research and Policy says that more than 92,000 kids were injured from 1990 to 2010 in amusement parks across the country. On average, more than 4,000 people are injured each year. A Six Flags park in yet another state saw a more tragic outcome in June 2013 when a woman died after she was thrown from a Giant coaster.

Safety should always be forefront in the minds of amusement park owners and managers. If not, they can be held liable through a premises liability lawsuit by injured victims or surviving family members of those killed. Victims or their families can seek compensation for damages and medical expenses from any accident.

Source:, “Six Flags roller coaster car derails,” Holly Yan and Mariano Castillo, July 8, 2014