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Water Slide Injury Analysis

Case Study

Water Slide Injury

An amusement park guest enters the top of a water slide seeking a thrilling ride, but by the time he gets to the bottom, he has sustained a significant lower extremity injury.  Was it the dynamics of the ride itself? Was it the instructions, or lack thereof, given by park personnel at the top? Was it something the patron did?

S-E-A was asked by the amusement park to conduct a biomechanical evaluation of the injury mechanism, which included inspecting and riding the slide, evaluating the injury, and creating demonstrative exhibits to be used at trial.  Additionally, S-E-A was requested to evaluate the opinions of other subject matter experts.

How does an amusement park guest enter the top of a water slide ready to ride, and end up with a broken leg by the time he gets to the bottom? 

S-E-A was asked to conduct a biomechanical evaluation of the sustained injuries.

Assigned Task:

To perform the analysis, S-E-A took the following steps:

  • The subject water slide was inspected and documented with measurements, photographs, and 3D laser scans while still installed at the amusement park. This included riding the slide and collecting valuable data and imagery throughout the entire ride.
  • The medical evidence, including several imaging studies, was evaluated and the possible injury mechanisms for the subject set of lower extremities injuries were researched and analyzed.
  • The subject slide capsule was removed and sent to S-E-A for further evaluation.
  • The subject slide capsule was modified to be used safely as a trial demonstrative, allowing for the jury to inspect it hands-on.

Evidence was evaluated resulting in the following findings:

  • The mechanisms to cause the sustained injuries would not have been present had the patron followed the verbal and visual instructions on proper body position and riding rules.
  • The opposing expert’s theory was impossible considering the geometry of the slide and the anthropometry of the patron.
  • The appropriate mechanisms to cause the subject injuries would not have been present in the causative scenarios opined by the opposing expert.
Water Slide1
Water Slide2

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