Three months after 12-year-old Teagan Marti was severely injured—and possibly paralyzed for life—on an amusement park ride in Wisconsin, her family and Miami child safety lawyers have reached a settlement with the park operator.
The agreement was announced on October 1 by the family’s Miami injury lawyer, Stuart Grossman of Grossman Roth, who spearheaded the child-safety case.
Terms of the settlement between Teagan’s family and Extreme World Amusement Park were not disclosed. A judge, Grossman said, will still have to approve it.
Teagan—whose plight has been widely covered by the media—was gravely injured July 30 on the park’s Terminal Velocity ride. The attraction, in which a rider is lifted more than 100 feet into the air before being released for a 10-story free fall into a net below, relies on an operator to confirm that the net has properly deployed.
But in Teagan’s case, the operator did not check before releasing her. In a horrific turn of events, the net did not deploy to catch her, and she fell straight to the ground. After numerous surgeries, Teagan remains essentially paralyzed but is making some recovery.
Grossman says he was not surprised a settlement was reached so quickly. “We had an overwhelming amount of evidence,” the child safety lawyer said. “The damages were rather obvious.”
The operator of the ride, 33-year-old Charles Carnell told police at the time that he “blanked out” and admitted that he had failed to confirm the net had properly deployed, according to the Lake Delton Police Department, which investigated the Wisconsin incident. Carnell has been charged with felony reckless injury.
Back in Miami—where Teagan is hospitalized—Grossman announced in August that the Marti family planned to sue both the park and the German company that built the ride.
“They did not have a fail-safe system that was as easy to put up as red tape, letting operators know the approximate height before the ride was dropped,” Grossman said. A backup system, the Miami injury lawyer added, could have incorporated a simple magnetized switch.
October 1 also marked Teagan’s latest surgery, a procedure to help clear her trachea. It was successful, Grossman said, but the child still has a long way to go, as victims in severe injury cases all too often do. “She’s still struggling,” the lawyer said. “But she’s doing her best.”