Among all of the tragedies that Orlando and the state of Florida have faced recently, one of the most heartbreaking involved a 2-year old boy playing at Walt Disney World.
Lane Graves, 2, of Nebraska, was playing in the water outside of Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa and Resort when he was quickly snatched by an alligator and dragged into the water. His body was found a day later.
It’s not unusual to spot an alligator around the grounds of Walt Disney World. The amusement park was essentially built on a swamp, and covers 40 square miles of land. But not every visitor is aware of the presence of alligators. The area where Lane Graves was playing simply had a “No Swimming” sign and no warning of dangerous animals.
Your Pool Could Hide an Alligator, Too
It may be unsettling to think of alligators invading our favorite theme parks, but it’s downright terrifying to think of alligators appearing in our backyards and swimming pools. Unfortunately, the growing population of both people and alligators has caused some overlap in where we want to relax and swim. Sending your child off to a swimming pool or beach area in Florida may put them at risk of an alligator or other wildlife-related accident.
That being said, keep in mind that the death of Lane Graves was the first fatal alligator attack in Florida since 2007. In short, alligator attacks are rare. There are typically around a dozen bites recorded each year. But even though wildlife accidents of this type are not common, they are traumatic, and can bring a lot of stress and financial hardship upon your family.
So what happens if your child is attacked by an animal on someone else’s property? Can you sue for damages? Will you win your lawsuit?
Negligence and Premise Liability
Let’s remove the wildlife factor and talk briefly about premise liability. If you are injured on a piece of property owned by someone else, you may be able to file a premise liability lawsuit against that person or company.
Property owners have the duty of both maintaining their property so that it is safe for visitors, and also warning visitors of potential dangers that are known by the owner but unknown to the visitor. If the property owners have neglected those duties, they can be found guilty of negligence. To win your lawsuit, you will have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your accident.
For example, if your child suffered a swimming pool accident at a neighbor’s house because of improper security or fencing, you could file a lawsuit. If you make a compelling case that the improper security caused your child’s accident, you might win the lawsuit and receive compensation.
Suing Over Wildlife Accidents in Florida
So it sounds like the Graves family has options when it comes to pursuing legal action against the theme park, right? Failure to communicate the imminent danger of wildlife that typically roams the property could be considered negligence or even gross negligence. Disney owns the Grand Floridian and the surrounding beaches, so they should take responsibility for warning patrons, staff, and guests of the dangers presented by that wildlife.
Florida is no stranger to dangerous wildlife, and laws about the presence of wildlife may affect the Graves family’s lawsuit. Florida law does not require property owners to anticipate or warn visitors about the presence of wildlife unless the owner owns or has introduced the wildlife onto their property.
For example, your child is playing at a friend’s house. Your child was unsupervised and unaware that their friend has a ferocious family dog. Your child sees and goes to pet the dog and is bitten. In this situation, you can file a lawsuit because the friend’s family owns the dog and did not warn your child. They are guilty of negligence.
On the flip side, if your child is playing at the same friend’s house and a wild bird randomly swoops in and attacks them, you will have a much harder time arguing that the friend’s family is liable for the damages done by the wild bird.
When in Doubt, Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important to look at Florida’s laws and procedures regarding every factor that went into an accident or injury. The Graves family will need a lawyer who is experienced in going up against high-profile clients like Disney, and who can effectively prove that negligence was involved in the case of Lane Graves’s accident.
If you’re caught in a confusing personal injury case, it is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with premise liability lawsuits in Florida. One simple call or click can get you a free review of your case today.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.
Although parking lot crashes are rarely high-speed, they do happen – a lot of them. Moreover, parking lot accidents often result in expensive repair bills and insurance increases. A parking lot crash can also cause serious or even fatal injuries, especially if pedestrians are involved. Below we’re going to break down how parking lot auto [..]
Consumer products regulations ensure that most products on the market are safe for their intended use. However, some consumer products companies push the boundaries of regulations or cut corners in the design or manufacturing process, which can lead to dangerous defective products reaching US consumers. When consumers are injured by a defective product, it may [..]
Medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence, and it can take many different forms. For example, it may be based on a negligent action that the doctor took, or conversely, on something the doctor failed to do. However, in order to successfully hold a doctor liable for medical malpractice, you must be able [..]
Florida policyholders purchase insurance and pay premiums with the understanding that – should disaster strike – their insurer will pay out damages to compensate for losses covered in the policy. That’s the whole point of insurance! Paying out covered damages is considered to be acting in good faith on the part of the insurance company. [..]
As your teen approaches their 15th birthday, they have an exciting opportunity – the ability to get their learner’s permit. The Florida learner’s permit allows residents to start the journey toward driving – and freedom! However, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman (say it with us), “With great power comes great responsibility.” [..]
As a parent, you care about your child and you look out for their well-being. However, you may not be aware of which types of injuries occur the most often for Florida kids, and that’s something that can be the difference between avoiding an accident and spending time in the hospital. Children are treated every [..]
The holidays are just around the corner, and many Floridians are looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with colorful decorations and fun family activities. However, the holidays also carry an increased risk of many kinds of injuries. On their own, holiday decorations are responsible for about 15,000 injuries annually. You probably know to [..]
Not sure which car seat is right for your child? You have an important job as a parent—providing a safe experience for your child while he or she is riding in a vehicle. Thousands of children are injured or killed in Florida car crashes each year, and the right car seat can protect your child [..]
Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner. What do you not want? To get hurt. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving [..]
Every day, Florida pedestrians are injured by car drivers. Some injuries are minor, yet some can be life-threatening. In this post, we’ll tell you the types of injuries you can expect if you get hit by a car, and what you can do to fight back and get the compensation you need and deserve. Stats [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
The recent death of a Tampa couple is an example of what might have been a potential product liability lawsuit had they lived. On Thanksgiving Day, Kevin and Michelle Livingston were traveling home from a visit to south Florida. Reports indicate that their sport utility vehicle drove into the waters of a canal along [..]
This law firm helped me with my car accident case and helped me to get the most of the medical benefits that were needed after the accident, and gave me fair and helpful expectations on what I would recieve back for the pain and suffering after the accident.