SNOW HILL – A Bel Air, Md. woman was awarded nearly $1.3 million in damages this week, bringing closure to a complex lawsuit dating back to the summer of 2004 involving serious injuries sustained during an accident at an Ocean City amusement park.
Lindsey McCormack, now 20, of Bel Air, and her parents sued just about everybody involved in the accident at Speed World inside the Jolly Roger amusement park in Ocean City following an go-kart accident that fractured her spine and caused other serious injuries from which she is still recovering. Named in the suit was the parent company Bayshore Development Inc., Jolly Roger Rides, Inc., several employees at the park at the time and R.E, Enterprises Inc., the California-based company that manufactured and sold the go-karts.
After a lengthy discovery period on both sides, the case against Bayshore Development, Jolly Roger and the employees were dismissed, while the suit focused on R.E. Enterprises, the manufacturer and supplier of the go-kart. In Worcester County Circuit Court on Monday, Judge Thomas C. Groton ruled R.E. Reynolds was negligent in the design of the go-karts and ordered the defendant to play nearly $1.3 million in damages to McCormack.
On June 18, 2004, McCormack, then 17, went to Jolly Roger’s with her parents. According to court documents, McCormack got into the first go-kart in line for the next race at the track and fastened her seat belt. Track employees came around and closed the netting and shut the lid on the car, but never offered McCormack any further instructions.
When the green light illuminated, McCormack took off in the car along with the other racers on the track. When she reached the three-quarter turn on the track, she suddenly struck a metal beam in the middle of the track, according to court reports. McCormack reported hearing a loud banging noise, then felt her upper body jolt forward, her hands flew off the steering wheel and her chin hit the wheel causing her to bite her tongue.
McCormack said in testimony she felt extreme pain and began screaming that she could not feel her back or legs. Immediately after the crash, a park employee rushed over to the car and with the victim still in it and screaming in pain, the employee reached in and tried to press the gas pedal to get the vehicle off the track. McCormack’s father, who was riding in a separate cart, arrived on the scene a short time later and ordered the employee to stop attempting to move his daughter’s go-kart.
McCormack was taken first to PRMC by ambulance and later flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. She suffered a fractured spine, a burst fracture of a vertebrae that ultimately had to be fused to another, head, neck and other permanent injuries, according to court records.
The charging documents against R.E, Enterprises alleged the company was negligent in the design of the go-kart used by McCormack that day. The complaint alleges negligence in that the company “as manufacturer, distributor and seller had a duty to design the go-kart in a fit and safe manner.”
The complaint also alleges “if the go-kart had not been defectively designed or manufactured, Lindsey McCormack would not have been injured at all, or would have been injured far less severely than she was.”
On Monday in Worcester County Circuit Court, Groton agreed with the allegations spelled out in the suit against R.E. Enterprises and awarded McCormack $209,849 in past medical expenses, $448, 150 in future medical expenses and another $615,000 in pain and suffering awards.