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Monday, December 29, 2014

After Mediation, Victim's Family Accepts Settlement in Roller Coaster Death Lawsuit

Can amusement parks or ride manufacturers be held liable for injuries or deaths on their rides?


Rosa Esparza plunged 75 feet to her death last July while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster at the Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, Texas. Now the family of the Dallas grandmother has agreed to accept a settlement in their lawsuit against Six Flags Over Texas and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, who manufactured the cars used on the roller coaster. The case would have gone to trial in Fort Worth, TX in January had the parties not settled.

According to attorneys close to the case, the settlement provided for a payment to Esparza's family but did not say who was at fault for the accident.  The negotiated settlement followed a ten-hour mediation session. Attorneys for the victim's family say they are pleased with the settlement.

Six Flags’ parent company had said it had set aside $3 million for the litigation that was filed after the 52-year old woman fell to her death.

In court papers, Six Flags and Gerstlauer each claimed the other was to blame.  Had the case gone to a jury trial, determining who was at fault would have been a key focus of the court proceedings.  Documents filed in court raised questions about whether Esparaza's lap bar was fitted properly and whether the one-size-fits-all design of the car was appropriate for larger riders.  

The Texas Giant roller coaster closed for two months after the incident. When it reopened, it had new seatbelts and new padding on the lap bar. The amusement park also installed a test seat to give riders a chance to see if they fit before boarding the ride.  That test seat, according to court filings, had been in storage since 2011.

Esparza was only the second rider to have died in Six Flags history.  The other died of drowning when a ride capsized.  Esparza's death was the fourth reported injury on the Texas Giant. 

If you or loved one has been harmed by the mistakes or negligence of others, you may be entitled to damages, both from those directly responsible and from those who played a contributing role.  The tenacious personal injury attorneys at Sawicki Law in Dallas, Texas, have years of experience handling all types of accident claims, including wrongful death. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, with no fee until you collect.  For a free consultation, call us today at (888)468-8844 or use our online consultation request form.

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