Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers: Zip Line Injuries on the Rise

Zip lining has become an increasingly popular activity for outdoor adventurists who want to experience the thrill of flight without having to parachute from a plane or bounce on a shock cord. The number of commercial zip lines in the U.S. has risen to more than 200 percent in recent years; joined by thousands more amateur zip lines at outdoor recreation camps, schools, and backyards across the nation. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity has also led to an increase in zip line-related injuries, and a new study reveals the problem is only growing.

Study Overview

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital analyzed data on zip line injuries from 1997 to 2012. During that time, an estimated 16,850 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for non-fatal zip line injuries. Perhaps more troubling, almost 70% of those injuries occurred in the last four years of the study. In 2012 alone, more than 3,600 people visited the emergency room with a zip line-related injury.

The majority of injuries happened at commercial zip line courses, amusement parks, canopy tours, challenge courses and camps. Falls accounted for more than three-quarters of the zip line injuries, followed by collisions with trees and other structures used to anchor the zip line. Children younger than 10 years of age accounted for almost half (45%) of the zip line related injuries. Young riders between the ages of 10 and 19 accounted for an additional 33% of injured patients.

Zip lines are often hung several stories high, over and through treetops, rocks and water. Riders can reach speeds of up 50 to 60 mph and in some places, children as young as seven are allowed to ride. Though the actual rate of zip line accidents is relatively low, when they do occur, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic. The study found that 11% of zip line accident victims had to be hospitalized for their injury. This high rate of hospitalization is consistent with that of other adventure sports and reflects the severity of these types of accidents. The most frequent types of injury associated with zip lining were broken bones (46%), followed by bruises (15%), sprains/strains (15%), and concussions (seven percent). The study did not track zip line fatalities, but there have been several in recent years, including at least four just this summer.

Zip Line Safety Tips

  • Avoid homemade or backyard zip lines. According to the study, do-it-yourself zip line kits were responsible for roughly 30% of zip line injuries. Many of these injuries were the result of improper installation or inadequate protective gear.
  • If you plan to go zip lining, look for a reputable organization with a well trained staff.
  • Ask operators to show you that their zip lines meet industry safety standards.
  • Make sure that the establishment provides you with proper safety gear, such as a harness, helmet and gloves. A guide should always check to ensure a correct fit.
  • Follow all posted rules and instructions from staff.

What to do in Zip Line Accident

If you or a family member has been hurt while zip lining, get medical attention as soon as possible, even if the injuries are not immediately obvious. Some injuries, particularly those involving the head, neck and spine, do not appear serious at first, but rather develop in the hours, daysor even weeks after the accident occurred. By being proactive, you improve not only your health, but your chances of a successful outcome for any legal action you might take against the zip line company responsible for your injuries.

Take photos of the area where the accident happened, or if your injuries prevent this, have a trusted friend take photos. It may also be helpful to get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Take care not to give any statements or information to an insurance representative without first consulting a reputable Maryland personal injury lawyer.

Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Maximum Compensation for Those Harmed at Adventure Parks

If you or a loved one has been injured in a zip line accident, Maryland personal injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton can help you get the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Contact us online or call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to arrange your free consultation with one of our dedicated and highly skilled Maryland zip line injury lawyers.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson. We represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.