Coaster manufacturer under fire for selling defective product

The manufacturer of a roller coaster ride that killed a woman in Texas is blaming Six Flags for the accident, arguing that the ride was properly constructed. The ride manufacturer and Six Flags are both being sued after the July death of a 52-year-old woman at the park. A lawsuit has been filed in connection with that death. Six Flags is attempting to pin more blame on the manufacturer, Gerstlauer, arguing that they had been sold a dangerous, defective product.

Gerstlauer had told Six Flags officials that the Texas Giant roller coaster was safe without the use of a seat belt; instead, a padded restraint bar was used. Six Flags argues that the company should have provided better safety design, though the manufacturer claims that the accident is solely the responsibility of the amusement park. The German company explains that a test seat should have been installed at the entrance to the ride. That seat would allow passengers to determine whether they were too large to get on the coaster. Questions have arisen about the victim's size, as it appears that the lap bar may not have accommodated her.

The manufacturer also alleges that the amusement park personnel did not properly test the woman's safety restraints, nor did they activate an emergency stop button that would have allowed additional time to address concerns. Since the incident, Six Flags has installed seat belts and instituted additional safety precautions. Six Flags recently opened for the spring break crowd.

Interestingly, it appears that Six Flags personnel were actually involved in the design and manufacture of the coaster. This example shows that plaintiffs do not have to be injured by a product that they personally purchase in order to bring a defective product claim. In this instance, a dangerous product is being blamed for the woman's death, even though she simply paid for the right to temporarily access the coaster. A Texas personal injury attorney may be able to provide more information about legal options for those who have suffered injury caused by defective products.

Source: Dallas Morning News, "Ride maker: Six Flags caused fatal accident" Jeff Mosier, Mar. 06, 2014

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