Action Park: A Piece of New Jersey’s Personal Injury History

What types of injuries were sustained at this New Jersey theme park?

When you go to an amusement park you are likely seeking a thrill. Although the rides can get your adrenaline pumping, they are usually considered safe for public use. While your chances of falling out of the rollercoaster or drowning on the waterslide are slim, there was once a place where these types of accidents were possible, even expected. That is Action Park in New Jersey.

Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey offered a host of water and other thrill rides. It opened in 1978 and served a highly Hispanic population over its approximately 20 years in business. Unfortunately, it was a dangerous place to visit in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  A combination of “ambitious” ride designs (such as the Cannonball Loop) and negligent operation caused countless injuries and even six deaths. Factors that contributed to these injuries and deaths were new and untested ride designs, inadequate maintenance of rides, the illegal operation of rides by minors who were often untrained and drunk or high. Staff members even meddled with rides to make them more dangerous than they originally were. Underage drinking by guests and a language barrier also existed and is believed to have contributed to the dangerous conditions.

So, what types of injuries were sustained? The answer is all kinds. But, head injuries and bone fractures seemed to be the most popular. It is estimated that 110 injuries occurred at the park in one year alone. When it comes to the deaths that occurred, three of the six were drownings in the wave pool. Others included an electrocution, a heart attack and a head injury, all caused by rides.

The park was eventually shut down due to the mounting personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits that ensued. But, in 1998, it was redone and opened as Mountain Creek Waterpark, with many more safety features in place. In 2014, the owners decided to give the park back its original title: Action Park.

Although injuries at theme parks are rare, they do still occur. If you or someone you loved was injured at a thrill park, contact an Essex County, New Jersey personal injury and wrongful death attorney today.