Walt Disney World Orlando advertises itself as one of the “Happiest Places on Earth”. For millions of visitors every year, it is quite a happy and joyful place filled with rides, cartoon characters, and adventures; however, for many children and their families, Walt Disney World Orlando happens to be a placed filled with horrific memories, significant personal injuries, tragedy, and even the untimely and wrongful death of a visitor from children to teens to adults. Certainly, Walt Disney World Orlando welcomes children and families to its many theme parks, attractions, resorts, and hotels. As such, it is important that Walt Disney World Orlando provide a safe and well maintained environment with the full knowledge that every day families and young children will be on the premises. This duty extends to all areas of the park and resorts including but not limited to the attractions, rides, restaurants, hotels, lobby areas, swimming pool areas, recreation areas, and yes, the other aquatic areas whether man-made or natural in the form of lakes, ponds, canals, lagoons, and other areas. It is incumbent upon Walt Disney World Orlando to patrol the areas, maintain the areas, clean up the areas, and post prominent signage about potential dangers that may include those related to electrical and wildlife. If an area has the potential for significant injury or death, this particular area should either be closed off, modified, and / or posted with prominent signage.
A recent incident at Walt Disney World Orlando left a family and community in shock when an alligator from the Seven Seas Lagoon lunged out of the water and grabbed a 2 year old who was standing in or near the water with his father. The boy, who was vacationing with his family from Nebraska, was attacked by the alligator. While the father tried to do his best to stop the attack and save his son, he was unable to do so. It was reported that there were signs in the area that advised visitors about the designation of a “No Swimming” area. There may not have been any warnings or signage about the presence of dangerous wildlife including but not limited to alligators. Certainly, this incident was and is a complete and utter nightmare for the family visiting the “Magic Kingdom” from Nebraska. The incident was immediately reported to Walt Disney World Orlando officials, resort staff and management, local law enforcement, and Florida Wildlife Law Enforcement officers. You can read more about this tragedy at KETV Omaha, Nebraska – Alligator Attacks and Drags 2 Year Old Nebraska Boy at Walt Disney World Orland Resort – Seven Seas Lagoon.
The injury and / or wrongful of a child is a harrowing experience. Certainly, as parents, we work day and night to provide for our children’s safety, health, and welfare. When a child is injured or when a child dies as a result of the negligence of another person, business entity, or government entity, a parent is faced with a number of life, medical, and legal challenges. Certainly, it is important that these trying times to be supported by family members, friends, community, medical professionals, clergy, community, and, yes, when necessary an experienced and caring Florida Child Injury Lawyer. Big businesses are supported day / night by in-house and retained legal counsel essentially on a 24 / 7 basis. There are risk management and insurance risk management adjuster in place to advise and protect the companies. As such, injury victims and their families also deserve legal representation to make that legal rights are protected, enforced, and preserved as needed especially in the aftermath of significant personal injuries and /or wrongful death.
In Florida, swimming, boating, and aquatic activities are essentially year round activities. This is especially true during the spring and summer seasons. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die every day from drowning related incidents. Children under the age of 14 account for 2 out of the 10 deaths. It is reported that drowning is the 5th leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.
In the State of Florida, the law classifies a motor vehicle as a dangerous instrumentality. As such, the owner of a vehicle is liable for the negligent driving of the driver under the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. This same set of laws makes a company liable for the driving of an employee given permission to drive a company vehicle. In the State of Florida and other States, there is a danger that exists in every community. Negligent driving in the form of distracted driving leads to far too many crashes and accidents which cause injuries to children and even the wrongful death of children. Distracted driving presents itself in different forms forms including but not limited to mobile phone use, texting, e-mailing, reading e-mails or texts, eating, drinking, smoking, dropping items, picking up items, etc. . . . Any action that takes away from the job at hand – driving the motor vehicle – can be classified as distracted driving.
In Hernando County, Florida, it was recently reported that a child pedestrian died when the child was struck by a motor vehicle. It was reported that the driver of a Jaguar got distracted after dropping a cigarette while operating the motor vehicle. Since a death resulted form a motor vehicle type of accident, the Florida Highway Patrol will complete a full investigation and later release a report as to its findings including the estimated speed of the vehicle, distance measurements, fault, and preventability of the incident.
The death of a child due to the negligence of others is a tragedy. A young life ended way too early from an event or incident that was preventable. Certainly, accidents happen. However, it is truly a shame when a child dies from an automobile, bicycle, or pedestrian accident through no fault of the child or her parents. As parents, we work tirelessly through each day with the goals of providing for our children, of protecting for our children, and, yes, of keeping our children safe.
Gun ownership is protected by the Second Amendment. Certainly, there is a strong history and constitutional right to gun ownership in Florida and the United States. With this right, there are also the responsibility of sensible and reasonable ownership and safety especially when children are present in a home or a location where guns are owned, maintained, and stored. A homeowner / gun owner can be held liable for leaving a gun in a place or location that is accessible to a young child. It is well known that children especially toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children are curious and do not always recognize the danger of touching or handling a gun. Civil or legal responsibility for injuries or the death of a young child does not in any way abrogate or curtail gun ownership or rights. Like driving an automobile or running an amusement park right, there must be responsible maintenance and operation surrounding the potentially dangerous activity.
An Arkansas woman was recently charged after her six year old nephew shot and killed himself with a gun she owned. The young boy was waiting in a car while the woman was in a nearby residence. The accidental death lead to the woman being charged with manslaughter. She was charged criminally because she was alleged to be negligent or careless for keeping the gun in a place accessible to the young boy. With such a tragic event, this particular incident and others are wake up calls for all gun owners and homeowners to be responsible any time that guns and children are present in the same location.
Gun related injuries can happen to a child of any age. In fact, toddlers, aged two or three, are strong enough to pull the trigger of a loaded gun. Often, these toddlers are too young to understand what a gun is and the danger that it poses. Coupled with the fact that one in three children live in a home with a gun, this is all the more reason to practice proper gun safety.
In Florida and other states, school bus stop areas are busy during the morning and afternoon areas. Some school bus stops are well marked with signage, flashing lights, and crosswalks while other bus stops are not as well set up or equippped. If a driver knows of a school bus stop by signage, lights, and / or by a general knowledge of the area, it is important for drivers to slow down and be on the watch for children at the school bus stop area or walking to or walking away from the school bus stop area.
Unfortunately and tragically, children continue to suffer injuries and even die as a result of pedestrian / automobile accident incidents in and around school bus stop areas. Florida has adopted a number of legal concepts that may apply to personal injuries suffered by a child pedestrian in or near school bus stop areas. A child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held negligent for his or her own actions as a matter of law. For children 6 years of age and older, the conduct of the child is evaluated / considered based on the age and maturity of the child as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding the pedestrian / automobile accidents. In addition, Florida has comparative fault when evaluating the liability or responsibility for pedestrian and automobile accidents. In other words, there may be negligence on behalf of the child 6 or older which does not prevent the right to pursue a cause of action for injuries or death to the child. For instance, if is determined that a child is 25 % at fault for an accident, then the child and / or the family of the child would be entitled to recover 75 % of the damages associated with the injuries / death. The negligence of the child pedestrian is not a bar to recovery in the State of Florida.
A tragedy was recently reported in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida. New 4 Jax and other media outlets reported that Kymora Christian, a 7 year old girl, died while walking to her Palm Coast school bus stop for Wadsworth Elementary School. It was reported that there was no crosswalk in the area. In Flagler County and other Florida counties, some school bus stops have crosswalks and some do not. This makes it even more important for drivers in and near the school bus stop area to slow down especially during drop off and pick up times. The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident that involved a SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). Since a death resulted from a vehicular accident in the State of Florida, a full investigation as to speed, preventability, and other factors will be conducted and reported by the Florida Highway Patrol. You can read more about this tragic incident at Florida Highway Patrol – 7 Year Old Girl Killed at School Bus Stop – Flagler County – Palm Coast, Florida.