Aug 25th, 2021
Paulozzi Joseph

In August, Michigan native Rachel Hawes was critically injured as she waited in line for the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster at Cedar Point amusement park. A fist-sized piece of metal broke off of the rear train of the world’s second-tallest roller coaster and hit Hawes in the head.

Many people visit amusement parks to find family fun and excitement, no one expects to suffer an injury while seeking out supposedly safe thrills. But accidents do happen. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence at an amusement park, reach out to the Cleveland amusement park accident attorneys at Paulozzi LPA.

Incidents Are Not Very Amusing

On police body-camera footage, 44-year-old Rachel Hawkes screamed while being taken to a nearby hospital. She was later transported to a hospital in Toledo where she was treated in intensive care for a brain injury.

The Hawkes family told a local TV station after the accident, they were “devastated by last weekend’s accident at Cedar Point…Rachel is fighting for her life.”

The piece of metal that struck Hawkes was an L-shaped bracket, part of a sensor system designed to locate the train on the track. It was attached to the back of the train, hovering over the track.

As the train slowed at the end of the ride, the bracket broke, flew into the waiting queue, and hit Hawkes. After investigating, the Ohio Department of Agriculture amusement ride safety division did not know why the bracket broke. The roller coaster was inspected in May and no structural issues were reported.

The 17-year-old roller coaster is 420-foot tall. Riders are blasted along a straight-away at 120 mph before climbing a hill and speeding back down. The entire ride only lasts about 20 seconds.

In 2004, four riders suffered minor injuries after being hit by metal shavings slung from the coaster’s launch cable. There have also been incidents with a loose cable and faulty hydraulic valves. In 2016, a cable line became detached.

After Hawkes’ accident, Cedar Point closed the ride for the rest of the season to allow investigators to review the incident.

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the chances of being injured on an amusement park ride is one in 16 million. The chances of dying are even rarer at one in 750 million.

These odds are skewed a bit when Cedar Point is factored in. Cedar Point is part of the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and their parks have seen far more incidents in the last 10 years, totaling 120 injuries and three deaths.

When Should I Contact A Lawyer?

Accidents can happen anywhere, and that includes amusement parks. If you or a loved one sustains an injury or worse because of the park’s negligence or reckless behavior, you need a skilled and experienced team to defend your rights.

We are ready to step in and guide you through the difficult legal process. Contact the Cleveland amusement park accident attorneys at Paulozzi LPA for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 888-710-0040.

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