Lawsuit filed against Dollywood For Ride Related Injuries
In December 2013, a woman was injured on a ride at Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, after lifting the safety bar just before the ride came to a complete stop. After suffering brain trauma, she and her husband sued the theme park seeking compensation for her personal injuries, alleging that the ride was operated in unsafe conditions with inadequate safety measures. Representatives for Dollywood contend that the case is unsupported, and the plaintiff is responsible for her own injuries, not the theme park.
Dollywood reps claim the victim was not harmed due to a malfunction on the ride, but because she jumped off when she knew it was unsafe to do so.
The victim reportedly unlatched herself because she thought the ride was over when the swing seats came to a stop, but she realized just too late that the ride was still very high up in the air and was not completely finished. As she fought to secure herself back into the seat, the chair slipped backwards, causing her to fall 10 feet to the ground while the ride slowed and came to a stop. She landed on her head on the concrete below. The woman suffered a traumatic brain injury, injuries to her neck and spine, a broken jaw, and torn ligaments. She and her husband contend in the complaint that the ride had safety bars that did not latch at all, allowing them to be moved even when the rider did not intend to get out of his or her seat.
The personal injury case also claims that the Brown family endured “wintery conditions” like hail and freezing rain on the day they attended Dollywood. This led many surfaces on and around the rides to be slick and unsafe. The family claimed that, before boarding the ride, they asked the ride’s operator if it was safe to get on, and they were informed that the ride was perfectly safe.
Dollywood has, however, released a statement that Brown could not have moved the safety bars without intending to, and she clearly tried to get off the ride before it was over. The representatives said in their statement that the only way to unlatch the safety bars “midair” was if the passenger did so on purpose. The theme park’s representatives insist that her injuries were caused by her own mistake, not because the theme park has unsafe or poorly maintained rides.