News flash! In the wake of the terrible tragedy that claimed the life of a two-year-old boy, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has added warning signs around the alligator-filled lagoon where the accident occurred last week. Finally!
As it turns out, there have also been close calls in the past. We wonder how much Disney management knew about alligators cruising the edge of its lagoon in close proximity to children. We already know what they should have known.
Millions of children visit Disney parks and resorts. Disney therefore clearly has the moral and legal responsibility to adequately warn its guests of all dangers on its premises that it both knows of or should know of.
The placement of warning signs after a tragedy is usually not admitted into evidence in a civil case because a rule of evidence precludes it. The rule was designed to encourage what the law calls "subsequent remedial measures" by not penalizing the landowner for correcting something that needs correcting. But hopefully in any suit that is filed, the family's lawyers will thoroughly investigate every prior incident and every inkling of evidence that demonstrates the foreseeability of this tragedy.
The essence of negligence suits dealing with premises liability (as this one would be) is how foreseeable the event was before it happened. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict or foresee that little children will be inexorably drawn to beautiful water attractions, nor that any person, adult or child, would be in danger knowing that alligators can lurk in just about any sizable body of water in Florida. With near-incidents in the past, Disney absolutely should have known this.
In our firm’s case against Disney involving a four-year-old child who got separated from his mother and drowned in the moat surrounding Cinderella's Castle, we proved that many thousands of children were reported lost to Disney every year. They were aware of the problem but never advertised it because it wasn't consistent with the image of total safety and security they always seek to burnish. The lost child reports were the proof we needed to establish foreseeability.
We intend to keep commenting on this and other tragedies in parks and attractions to better inform our clients of ways to make their trips to such places safer for their families.
To get in touch with a Miami premises liability attorney at Freidin Brown, P.A., call us at (888) 650-0918.