California’s safety inspectors are requiring additional safeguards to the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm after a 5-year-old boy allegedly suffered a fractured eye socket last year on the attraction. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health released a report this month saying it looked into the ride accident and determined that a water-level sensor did not function as intended during an inspection on the day after, on May 3. The sensor functioned properly when the debris was cleared, according to the report.
Several Safety Lapses Identified
The investigation also found other inadequacies with the popular Log Ride. The report stated that smaller riders suffered significantly more injuries on the ride mostly likely because of the proximity of their faces to the padded or perhaps, insufficiently padded, portions of the faux log that riders sit in. The report also noted that riders were not being given comprehensive safety instructions, which is mandatory under state regulations.
Cal-OSHA has said the amusement park must complete a number of safety requirements on the ride by Jan. 29. These steps include enhancing safety instructions with signs, video or audio recordings, and inspecting the ride’s padding, floorboards and restraints to make sure the logs are secure for smaller riders. Park representatives said they are taking the report seriously and will strive to comply with the requirements.
Serious Eye Injury
The incident that spurred this report occurred on May 2, 2016 when the boy, Charles Miller was sitting on his dad’s lap in the rear of the log. The ride suddenly slowed down after the final drop. The boy hit his head on the back of the seat in front of him. The impact caused his eye socket to fracture. His family said that has led to vision problems and subsequent surgeries. The family filed a lawsuit against Knott’s alleging that a faulty sensing system failed to monitor the water levels causing the sudden deceleration.
State records show that Cal-OSHA told park officials in 2012 to enhance the ride’s water-level monitoring. However, that wasn’t done and between May 2013 and January 2015, the ride was operating out of compliance as the water level was not adequately monitored. There were reportedly eight alleged accidents on the ride in 2015 and 2016 with injuries ranging from lower back pain to a head injury.
In such cases where a lack of adequate safeguards is identified, amusement parks can be held liable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused to victims and their families. Injured victims may be able to file a premises liability claim against the park seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who has experience successfully handling cases against amusement parks.