Roller Coaster’s structural problems injures 28 riders at amusement park

Jurors heard arguments in a lawsuit over an Ohio amusement park roller coaster that has been blamed for dozens of injuries, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. In the lawsuit, Jennifer Wright claims structural problems with the Son of Beast roller coaster caused injuries to her hip that will require several surgeries throughout her life. Kings Island officials don’t deny that a structural problem with the Son of Beast rollercoaster in July 2006 caused 28 riders to get hurt.

Attorneys for the amusement park contend the Wright’s injury was caused by an unrelated fall in 2008.  Attorneys for Kings Island and the patron injured on the Son of Beast in reached a settlement today prior to the punitive damage phase of the trial. The settlement is confidential, but is in excess of the jury award of $76,364 according to news reports.

A jury, after three days of testimony, awarded the injured plaintiff $56,000 for pain and suffering and $20,364 for medical bills she incurred as a result of the accident that sent her and 26 others to the hospital on July 9, 2006.  The jury deliberated for just about five hours before delivering their 7 to 1 verdict.

During closing statements, Kings Island’s attorney said while the amusement park admitted liability, the injured rider only deserved $8,267 for medical bills. He called the remainder of the estimated $27,000 she has incurred on several medical tests “litigation tests.”  Defense counsel also asked the jury to only award $12,000 for pain and suffering.

A tearful plaintiff Wright said she felt like Erin Brockovich after the trial.  “It wasn’t just a minute of pain on the ride,” she said. “It’s been three years of agony.”

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