Is it Safe to Ride a Las Vegas Roller Coaster?
Roller coasters all over the US have certainly gotten safer since the nightmare rides of doom that littered American carnivals of decades past, and Las Vegas is no exception.
But life-threatening and fatal accidents have occurred under the realm of Las Vegas entertainment, and victims have the recourse to sue for damages in the state of Nevada in such cases.
Safety Regulations for Las Vegas Roller Coasters and Other Rides
Nevada law requires annual inspections of any roller coaster in the state, including at outdoor attractions and inside casinos in Las Vegas. Additionally, the law requires all roller coaster operators to have a clearly marked and readily available station for immediately reporting and responding to accidents that may take place on the roller coaster.
You can read the exact legal language pertaining to Nevada-operated roller coasters here. There are no federal laws or regulations that govern the safety of roller coasters, so one is entirely dependent on the state they’re in, with Nevada having a fairly strong set of regulations to protect riders.
That said, despite annual inspections, the burden of maintaining safety standards the other 364 days out of the year will come down to the ride operators, the managers of the casino or park, and the manufacturers or service personnel connected to the roller coaster.
Worst Case Scenarios
Accidents involving roller coasters are more diverse in scope than one may assume at first glance. A lot can go wrong when traveling at very high speeds in enclosed areas or passing other objects and parts of the roller coaster or other rides.
Common roller coaster accidents include falls, being partially ejected from the seat and impact with the ground or protruding objects, getting hit by a falling part(s), or being hit by objects dropped by other riders.
Injuries and complications from injuries resulting from a roller coaster accident can include:
- Broken neck
- Fractured skull
- Broken spine
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Fractures to limbs and ribs
- Heart attack
- Minor cuts or more severe lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of limbs
The chances of a seat restraint malfunctioning and causing a rider to be thrown from the roller coaster, the type of accident with the highest likelihood of death, is fairly slim. An incorrectly or improperly fastened restraint, which the ride operator is responsible for checking, is a more likely cause for such accidents.
Far more likely occurrences involve milder types of injuries resulting from less catastrophic failures, such as a falling piece of equipment which, however small, presents a serious danger to riders.
Legal Options for Roller Coaster Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a roller coaster accident in Las Vegas, there are a number of legal options that you have the right to pursue in Nevada courts.
Exactly who you are suing and under what grounds depends on the precise nature of the accident. Specifically, what needs to be considered is who owed you the responsibility for a safe environment and then reneged on their commitment.
If the roller coaster was inside a casino, the casino company itself may be the right target for a lawsuit. However, the casino may be leasing the roller coaster, with legal responsibility resting on the roller coaster operator company.
Alternatively, certain mechanical failures leading to an accident may be something that falls outside the responsibility of the operator or premise owner if such an accident was reasonably unforeseen by all but the manufacturer. In such a case, the roller coaster producer should be the target of your personal injury lawsuit.
Adding to the complexity of these types of cases, there may be circumstances under which both the operator and manufacturer or operator and casino company are liable for the damages that you have incurred.
What these complexities ought to underscore is the importance of knowing that your case is in good hands and that you are represented by the best. Read here for more information on suing a Las Vegas hotel after a roller coaster accident.