Houston personal injury attorney Joe Stephens helped a client warn authorities about the Hi-Miler rollercoaster in 2009. Unfortunately, those warnings apparently went unheeded, and a rider plummeted to his death earlier this week.
As ABC13 News’ Jessica Willey reports, Stephens encouraged his client to lodge a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance, which is charged with regulating carnival rides. The woman and her daughter were on the ride when the restraint popped up, leaving them unsecured. “She says someone has got to do something because my daughter and I were almost killed at the rodeo,” Stephens said.
The woman and her daughter ended the “amusement” ride screaming, crying and hanging on for dear life. She said a ride operator tested the restraint after the ride ended and found that it appeared locked but then popped out of position. Despite alerting numerous people at the rodeo, the ride continued to operate.
Houston amusement park accidents should always be reported — and should be handled by an experienced and qualified attorney. Clearly, state inspectors cannot be counted on to protect the public. And traveling fairs and carnivals have a notoriously poor safety record. Your complaint very well may end up saving someone’s life. Why it didn’t in this case is something that will likely be decided in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit.
In this case, Willey reports the state notified Ray Cammack Shows, which operates the rodeo carnival, and told the company a complaint had been filed. The company inspected the ride and reported finding nothing wrong, according to ABC13. Then the rodeo went on about its business — even after Brain Greenhouse fell to his death — telling reporters there had been no previous complaints about the safety bar, according to the station’s reporting.
But, as Stephens points out, the “inspections” and regulations designed to keep attendees safe is ripe for abuse. “All this deal about passing the inspection deal is just a paper game so if anything happens due to shoddy operations, they then have the paperwork to say look, this is what we did,” Stephens said.
Stephens has filed lawsuits against Ray Cammack Shows in the past. Both Stephen’s client and Greenhouse were seated in the front car. His family is suing RCS and the rodeo, saying both are responsible for his death. Meanwhile, the report filed by RCS with the State Department of Insurance makes no reference to the fact that the victim died. It notes only the possibility of pre-existing or internal injuries.
Houston Injury Attorney Joe Stephens has nearly three decades of experience representing personal injury and wrongful death cases. A Personal Injury Trial Law Specialist through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1993, Attorney Stephens has won multiple verdicts over $1 million and is a Million Dollar Advocates Member. Call 281-623-1701 for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.