Disney Settles Suit With Woman Who Fell From Tram

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According to the OC Register’s Around Disney blog:

A Northern California woman who suffered serious head injuries when she fell out of a moving Disneyland tram two years ago has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against the entertainment giant, Walt Disney Co. officials confirmed Wednesday.

Details of the settlement, including the amount of money paid to Zhao, were not released. The agreement came just as a jury trial was finishing in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Qi Zhao, 48, was riding in the Disney tram outside the park with two sisters and a niece in February 2007.

Zhao and her family had spent about 10 hours inside the park and were headed on the tram to their car in a parking lot about 10 p.m., Disney officials said.

Zhao said that as the tram entered a turnaround, one of her sisters – who was apparently sleeping – fell from the tram, prompting Zhao and another sister to react suddenly and also fall out of the tram.

One sister suffered minor injuries. Zhao hit her head on the pavement and suffered serious head trauma, including a fractured skull. It left her in a coma for three weeks and in need of around-the-clock medical supervision, according to the complaint.

She filed her lawsuit later that year, alleging that the tram was moving too fast.

Zhao and her husband were born in China, but were living in Northern California when they visited Disneyland. Zhao is now being cared for in Beijing.

Attorneys for Disney said the tram was moving at a safe speed and that a device attached to the trams limits the top speed to 11 mph. As it entered the turnaround, it was traveling the customary 5 to 7 mph, they said.

Of the 200 guests on the tram, only Zhao and her sisters fell out of the tram.

“This lawsuit stems from a highly unusual and tragic incident,” said Sara Jones, a Disney spokeswoman.

“This incident was caused by the plaintiff and her sisters’ multiple failures to comply with Disneyland’s numerous and repeated safety warnings,” she added.

Attorneys for Zhao could not be reached for comment.

The settlement came just as attorneys had begun their closing arguments in the jury trial. The judge informed jurors of the resolution and dismissed them. Zhao’s two sisters had earlier settled their claims against Disney.