It may be a very rare occurrence for a child to be attacked or injured by a wild animal, but it can happen. For example, in a recent Florida case, a 2-year-old boy was drowned by an alligator at a Disney World property. Other dangerous animals in the U.S., including bears, buffalo and snakes cause a handful of fatalities each year.
Other injuries may not be as devastating -- perhaps your child is scratched or bitten by an animal and must undergo treatment for rabies. If your child is injured by an animal, are there circumstances under which you can and should file a lawsuit?
A personal injury attorney can evaluate the situation leading up to the injury and let you know if you have a case. Here are some factors that could be an influence.
- Was there a reasonable expectation of danger? If you are in the middle of the forest or at a campground, a reasonable person might expect to encounter wildlife. But at a hotel or
amusement park, you might not think that animals would pose a threat.
- Were warnings posted? If there are signs warning about a danger from wildlife, the property may not be at fault if you are injured.
- Were there barriers or fences? If a child or adult went around or over a barrier to access areas where animals might reside, there's a greater expectation of danger. Without a fence, people are less likely to understand that there could be a risk.
- Have officials had to remove animals from that location before? If animals came and were taken away because of the danger they posed, that indicates that the property owner was aware of an issue. In the Disney case, the company had worked with
Florida Fishand Wildlife Commission officials to have "nuisance" alligators, which might be dangerous to people, removed from its property, so employees knew there was a risk.
Essentially, a personal injury attorney may be able to bring a successful lawsuit against a property if the managers had actual knowledge of a dangerous condition on their premises, and that includes the presence of wild animals that wouldn't normally be expected
If your child has been injured by a non-domesticated animal, contact a personal injury lawyer for help in assessing whether you have a case. To find out more, speak with someone like Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA.