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Guardrails in Deadly Disney Race Track Accident Raise Liability Questions

Categories:Law in Florida

For many, being a race car instructor at Walt Disney World sounds like a dream job: help the Monday through Friday minivan crowd act out their racecar-driving fantasy at the most famed theme park in the world. As a customer, being able to get behind the wheel of one of those powerful vehicles is an even more thrilling prospect. However, unlike most rides at Disney World, the privilege of riding the ride – or in this case, racing around in a sports car with little to no experience – carries with it the very real danger of injury or death in the event of a crash.

In April of this year, that danger became real. Instructor Gary Terry of the Exotic Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway was killed when a Lamborghini in which he was a passenger lost control while going 100 plus miles per hour, began spinning and slammed into a guardrail. Mr. Terry had desperately attempted to grab the steering wheel to regain control of the vehicle prior to the crash, to no avail. Despite Mr. Terry wearing his helmet and safety harness, he was pronounced dead at the scene. No other vehicles were present on the track at the time. The passenger was a 24-year-old who had received the riding experience as a birthday gift from his wife.

An activity like this carries with it some degree of assumed risk. However, what duty do the attraction officials and owners have to customers and employees to properly inform both regarding the risks inherent with this attraction and to prevent against injury and death from occurring? What duty do those persons have to ensure that protocol is followed to ensure as safe an experience as possible? 

Racecar experts are up in arms about what has now come to light about the accident: the driver was driving the car in a clockwise direction, which was wrong. This is important because the guardrails along the Walt Disney World Speedway are intended to direct speeding cars back into the track and to protect cars moving in the proper direction, counter-clockwise. However, the very guardrail that was supposed to be a safety net turned into deadly spears and impaled the vehicle. The majority of damage the vehicle sustained resulted from the guardrail puncturing the car through the passenger side.

Guardrails have become controversial in recent years. A man recently won a lawsuit, which alleged that the guardrail manufacturer altered a guardrail design without proper authorization from transportation officials. That alteration to the guardrail head design made them likely to become deadly spears, like the ones at the Walt Disney World resort, rather than safely deflect the vehicles in the event of an impact. 

Additionally, this is the third speedway death documented in the past year at an entertainment-type speedway that allows customers permission to operate vehicles at a very fast rate of speed. 

In accidents such as these, claims may be possible depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the design of the track, and the owners/employees actions or inactions. If you have endured injury or a loved one has died due to the negligence of another or due to the faulty design of a product, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Brooks Law Group today to discuss your case. 

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