Articles Posted in Attractive Nuisances

Resort Florida Liability and NegligenceIn Florida and other states, children are welcomed as guests at hotels, motels, and resorts. There are a few vacation areas that are adult guests only; however, the vast majority of these locations are family oriented and set up in many ways to provide for the guests who are children.  Rooms and areas of the resort are constructed and designed just for children.   Because children are welcomed as guests, the hotel / resort staff and management should maintain the facility and activities at the facility in a way to takes into account the safety of children.  It is well know that children lack good safety awareness and judgment.  Because of this, attractive nuisances should be kept at a minimum or at least secured in a way that a child cannot go inside a dangerous area without proper access and adult supervision. Take for example, a swimming pool or aquatics area.   Proper fencing, enclosures, and alarms should be in place so that a child, especially toddlers, do not have access to or wander into the area.  Like other personal injury cases, the following elements must be established:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;

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By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer
The State of Florida is a tourist destination for millions of visitors every year. In Florida, we have beaches, resorts, theme parks, water parks, lakes, rivers, ponds, lagoons, and a number of alligators.  Certainly, personal injuries caused by an automobile accident are far more common than personal injuries caused by an alligator attack.  As such, there are literally thousands of appellate cases and rulings associated with personal injuries and automobile accidents.  On the other hand, the laws and appellate cases associated with alligator attacks are quite sparse.  A recent incident at Walt Disney World Orlando made national headline news.  Unfortunately, it focused media attention in the State of Florida and Orlando for a tragedy rather than any kind of celebration.  More importantly and more tragically, a Nebraska family, who innocently was just trying to enjoy the “Magic” of Walt Disney World Orlando, will be heading home with one less family member who was attacked and dragged away by an alligator at the Seven Seas Lagoon.
In Palumbo v. State Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission, 487 So.2d 352 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1986), a personal injury victim (Christopher Palumbo) sought the review of a trial court order granting summary judgment for the defendant – the State of Florida. In other words, the trial court threw out the personal injury victim’s case.  The trial court ruled that the evidence, when considered in the light most favorable to the injury victim, was insufficient to support a claim or case for negligence against the State of Florida.  Mr. Palumbo was injured at the University of Florida – Lake Wauberg Recreational Park. He noticed that a boat had capsized.  Mr Palumbo decided to swim out to the boat to help the boaters with a repair.  As he was swimming towards the boat, Mr. Palumbo was attacked by an alligator and he was injured.   Mr. Palumbo later filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission.  The trial court threw out the case and determined that the State of Florida was not required to fence and was not required to otherwise keep alligators out of the area.  The trial court further noted that Mr. Palumbo disregarded warning signs that were posted at the recreational park / facility.  The First District Court of Appeal affirmed the rulings of the trial court.  The First District Court of Appeal noted that the State of Florida did not have a duty to guard the visitor against harm from an alligator unless the alligator was reduced to the possession of the State of Florida or the alligator was not indigenous to the locality.  The First District Court of Appeal further noted that Mr. Palumbo ignored clear warning signs at the facility which, in turn, was the sole proximate cause of his personal injuries.  In addition to “No Swimming” signs posted at the recreational park, there were a variety of signs warning of and referencing the presence of alligators in the area including one sign that read “Unlawful to Feed Alligators” and another sign that read “Don’t Feed or Molest . . . “ with a large graphic of an alligator on it.  In the Palumbo case, there were clear warning signs of alligators in the area which appeared to be an important part of the rulings of the trial court and the appellate court.

106-1113tm-vector2-2936Trampolines can provide hours of enjoyment and exercise to children.  Unfortunate, a trampoline can also be the site or location of a serious personal injury to a child.   There are three major reasons why children are injured while playing on a trampoline:
1.  Improper Maintenance / Repair of the Trampoline.
There are far too many homeowners, summer camps, schools, and day care centers with trampolines that are older and / or without proper safety measures and equipment.   Many trampolines lack side netting and barriers.  Alternatively, the side netting or barrier is in place but in disrepair.  There are also trampolines in use and available for play with issues with the legs or footing of the trampoline.  Some have missing springs and holes in certain areas.   When a trampoline is not properly maintained, children can be harmed even during simple light use.

NO%20DIVING.jpgDrowning-related deaths and other water-related injuries are on the rise during this summer time. Unfortunately, the State of Florida sees its fair share of drowning related deaths and injuries. Some result from the negligence of others including improper supervision and inadequate fencing and barriers. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that the leading cause of injury-related death in children is drowning. Each year, more than 1,400 children, under the age of 20, drown. Also, it is estimated that for every drowning at least 1-in-4 children suffer a non-fatal injury requiring hospitalization. Non-fatal drowning-related injuries can cause brain damage, long-term disabilities, memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of brain function.

The two most important preventative measures a parent or caregiver can take is to maintain constant supervision and learn to swim. Parents and caregivers should never, not even for a brief moment, leave a child alone or with another young child in a bathtub, pool, hot tub, spa, kiddie / children pools, near irrigation ditches, ponds, lacks, rivers, creeks, oceans or other open standing water.

An article by HealthNewsDigest.com provided other safety measures a parent or caregiver can take to prevent drowning or other water-related injuries:

apartment%20balcony.jpgA 4-year-old boy fell from his 17th-floor balcony in Miami. Miraculously, the child survived with no apparent broken bones. According to authorities and witnesses, the boy was probably saved by a palm tree. After falling from the balcony, the child likely bounced off of the crown of the palm tree and safely landed onto a dirt surface on the 10th floor; about a 70-80 ft. fall. The boy fell off the balcony in pursuit of a balloon after he opened the apartment’s sliding glass door. While the child’s 23-year-old mother was in the bathroom, she left the child under supervision of his grandfather, who was in kitchen during the accident.

It is imperative that parents and adult supervisors keep a watchful eye over their children. Children do not appreciate the dangers of their surroundings and it is an adult’s duty to keep them from physical harm. Adults can protect children from wandering off and injury by providing supervision, keeping doors and windows locked, and child-proofing the house.

When a child is injured as a result of a fall, legal issues also present themselves. What safety precautions were in place? What safety precautions should have been in place? Was the building or facility properly maintained? Was the incident foreseeable or preventable? Were there any building code violations or other laws violated with respect to the building or the facility? If you believe that your child was injured a result of the neglect or negligent conduct of others, contact a Florida child injury lawyer for advise and consultation regarding the applicable laws and the proper handling of an insurance claim or lawsuit as applicable and warranted by the facts of the situation.

Lab.jpgRyan Gooding, of Palm Springs, Florida and friend saw a science experiment on YouTube.com that looked interesting to them, and decided to try to do the experiment on their own. The experiment was creating a rocket out of a plastic soda bottle using vinegar and baking soda.

But when Ryan and his friend were ready to launch the rocket, the bottle accidentally exploded in Ryan’s face, causing chemical burns, lacerations, a broken nose and temporary blindness in one eye. Ryan was hospitalized. Unfortunately, the family’s health insurance policy lapsed two days before the accident took place, and now his mother is trying to figure out how to pay the hospital bills for her son’s care.

Experiments and entertainment on TV and the Internet often look very tempting to young kids, who do not have a fully-developed sense of caution when it comes to dangerous activities. Parents need to help their children understand that mimicking stunts and experiments performed by professionals is dangerous and could get them hurt. The news story did not point out the link to the YouTube.com video Ryan was watching, but one can only hope that it had an appropriate warning for children not to try the experiment at home without supervision.

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Professional “mommy blogger” and stay at home mom, Shellie Ross of Merritt Island, Florida, surprised her 5,000 Twitter followers recently by Tweeting all the details of the drowning death of her two year old son Bryson. The child reportedly wandered off from his eleven year old brother and fell into the family’s pool. A few minutes before the child wandered off, Ms. Ross was tweeting about the weather, then suddenly started asking followers for their prayers as she rushed with the child to the emergency room.

The online community was shocked by Ms. Ross’ announcement and the fact that she continued to Tweet about what was going on as she waited for news of her son’s fate in the emergency waiting room. Family members and the Brevard County, Florida Sheriff’s Office do not agree; they say that they believe tweeting had nothing to do with this tragic accident. Ms. Ross has locked her account and has not sent any more tweets since immediately after Bryson’s death. You can read more about this tragic drowning death and the online community’s reaction to it at Tweet sorrow.

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Florida enjoys the reputation of being a tourist destination with warm weather and fun theme parks like Disney World, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens. Unfortunately, Florida also has the distinction of being the number one State in the United States for drownings. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission ranks Florida as the number one State for infant drowning deaths. It is interesting and tragic to note that drowning is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14. In many drowning death and injury cases, the incidents are avoidable with better safety precautions and supervision. Barriers like pool fences and screen enclosures can help prevent many of child injuries and wrongful deaths due to drownings but parents and homeowners should not completely rely on these safety devices. Supervision is also important anytime children are playing in or near a pool area. You can read more about

You can read more about the problems and dangers of drownings and Florida and other States at Florida Has Number One Ranking in Swimming Pool Drownings.

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In Lauderhill (Broward County) Florida, a one year old (Lawrence Paul) died after he drowned in a canal behind his home. At the time he fell in, he was with his three year old sister. The children were under the care of an aunt when the incident took place. There was a fence behind the home but it had no lock on the gate.

In South Florida as well as the rest of the State, there are lakes, canals, rivers, streams, and other water ways throughout the State, it is vital that children was kept away from these most dangerous areas by installing secure gates with locks to keep children out. Water ways like canals can be deemed an attractive nuisance for children. As such, property owners, both home and business, have a duty to protect children from the dangers by installing proper barriers and fencing of the dangerous areas. Fences, locks, and proper supervision can help avoid serious personal injuries and wrongful death to children every year in Florida as well as the rest of the country.

In 2008, there were 11 child drownings in Broward County Florida according to the Sun Sentinel newspaper. You can read more about this story at 1 Year Old Broward County Child Drowns in Canal Near Home.

A landowner, business or homeowner, may be held liable in Florida for injuries to children on the property if the injury is caused by a hazardous or dangerous condition that is likely to attract or interest children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. In Florida, children under the age of 6 cannot as a matter of law be considered negligence. Children over the age of 6 can be considered negligent in part for their own injuries. Cases of attractive nuisance may involve piles of lumbar or sand, abandoned cars, trampolines, swimming pools, electrical transformers, wells, and irrigation equipment. Florida cities from Miami to Jacksonville to Pensacola all have weather that permit a child to play outside year round. Child are curious and will play in just about any area. A dirty and dangerous area to an adult is viewed as something quite different to a child. Typically, businesses, government, and homeowners have liability insurance that cover injuries to children caused by an attractive nuisance.