Eyewitnesses state that a Dallas woman fell out of the Texas Giant roller coaster car at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas. When the car began its first descent, 52-year-old Rosa Irene Ayala-Gaona fell about 75 feet down onto a metal support beam. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as extensive trauma of the torso.
Many of these same eyewitnesses pointed to the inadequate safety procedures on the ride as the immediate cause of Rosa’s death. During the roller coaster ride, which is 14 stories tall and features a drop of 79 degrees, riders are pinned to their seats through the use of a metal restraining bar. Again, according to witnesses, Rosa’s safety bar did not properly click into place. Accounts say that Six Flags employees on the scene were dismissive when Rosa voiced her safety concerns as she boarded the ride, and they stated that Rosa would be fine.
Six Flags Corporation expressed sadness over the incident and closed the Texas Giant for an unspecified period.
The Texas Wrongful Death Statute states that a person – which includes a corporation – is liable for damages if an employee’s or agent’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” caused the victim’s accident. While there probably were several wrongful acts in this situation, any of the following triggers may apply:
Wrongful action. The maintenance of the metal restraining her may not have been proper.
Neglect or carelessness. The plaintiff could argue that the park employees did not follow the established safety procedures. The plaintiffs could also argue that the procedures themselves are inadequate.
Unskillfulness or default. Unskillfulness generally means that the employees were improperly trained and they did not perform their jobs as expected. Default occurs if employees or agents know their jobs, but simply fail to do their jobs.