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.
Imagine sleeping soundly in bed and then a loud crashing crane comes through your roof. It was a scene that happened this week in North Miami Beach, where a crane that was being used to repair a seawall slid off a barge and struck the roof of a condominium building. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" size="large" [..]
Car accidents can happen anywhere. Especially where you least expect it. Parking lots, driveways, parking garages, and drive-thrus are well-known for accident scenes. Even your own living room. On Wednesday, August 21st, an accident involving two cars ended up crashing into a Miami Gardens home. One of the drivers was air lifted to a [..]
Dade and Broward county roads are about to become a bit more confusing and request drivers to be more attentive to the road and the scheduled construction plans on the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-75 throughout August 2019, while making room for a new Express Lane on the 826 Palmetto Expressway. As auto accident attorneys [..]
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
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 [..]
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. [..]
Uber and Lyft have really made getting around town a lot easier. The apps are simple to use, the cars are relatively inexpensive, and getting a ride only takes a few minutes. However, as wonderful as Uber and Lyft are for convenience when you need a quick lift, it is important to remember that [..]
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 [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
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, [..]
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 [..]
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, [..]
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 [..]