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Alligator Attack: What Should Disney World Have Done?

June 17, 2016 | Category: Animal Attacks, Child Injuries, Personal Injury | Share

Everyone is aware of the tragedy that befell a child when he was attacked and killed by an alligator while on vacation at Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon. Reports of the heartbreak state that the attack happened in the evening and the child’s parents made efforts to free the child from the alligator but were unable to do so. The father suffered injuries to his hands during the rescue attempt.

A subsequent search for the child was fruitless until two days after the child went missing when his body was found near the area of the attack. The tragedy has sparked debate over who’s to blame for child’s death: the parents? Disney World? Both?   

Authorities have stated that currently, the nature of the investigation into the boy’s death is not criminal in nature and criminal charges against the parents remain unlikely. The facts do not support a showing that the parents acted negligently and that the family was simply doing what thousands of other families do when they visit Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon.

Criminal negligence against a child is a serious crime but there is no evidence to suggest that the parents in this case acted negligently. In fact, reports suggest that both mother and father acted heroically in their efforts to save the child.

Businesses Must Protect Guests

As attorney Randall Spivey and his team knows, businesses owe their guests the utmost care. When a company opens its doors, it does so with the intention of making a profit. As a society, we place a premium on human life and as such, we demand that businesses put consumer safety in front of profits.

This means that businesses are required to inspect their properties, fix or mitigate dangers, warn of known risks and take steps to protect customers from those risks.

Visitors do not and are not expected to know of all the potential dangers each place of business might pose to them. Businesses are in a position of superior knowledge regarding on premise dangers and therefore are expected to protect guests.

Disney World at Fault?

It appears that Disney World made several serious mistakes that can be attributed to leading to the child’s death. While alligator attacks are relatively rare in Florida, the animals still pose a clear danger. Disney World was aware that alligators lived in the waters near its resorts and should have taken further steps to protect visitors – especially children.

The attack on the child happened in the evening when alligators become more active in their feeding. Should the resort have closed the beaches in the evening knowing that alligators were in the water?

Disney World was aware that alligators lived in the waters near the resort and they have an open permit which allows them to remove alligators at any time. They also have a dedicated team for the removal of the alligators.

So how was an alligator large enough to attack and kill this child able to live in the lagoon? It appears that Disney World was not diligent in its monitoring of the water -- otherwise the alligator would have been spotted and removed (they must come to the surface to breath).

Disney World is a family vacation destination and, of course, Disney World is aware that children play in and around the water. Unlike Disney, a tourist family from Nebraska is not going to know the dangers involving alligators. As such, Disney World should have diligently monitored the lagoon to ensure that children were safe. In response to the attack, Disney World has closed beach resorts and will be reviewing its danger warning signs. Unfortunately, these after-the-fact measures will not help this family.

If you have been injured while at a place of business, contact Fort Myers personal injury attorney Randall Spivey today. Businesses that seek to make a profit off the public need to make sure safety is their top priority.

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