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Summer Fun--and Danger


It was supposed to be a wonderful family vacation at Disney's premiere resort in Orlando, Florida. The Grand Floridian is a Victorian-style Disney Deluxe Resort hotel and Spa on Lake Buena Vista. The family of four was enjoying an evening on the banks of the Seven Seas Lagoon, one of the bodies of water connected to the lake. While the parents and four year old sister looked on, the two year old boy waded into 6-12 inches of water. In a matter of seconds, a large alligator came out of the water and attacked the toddler; despite his father running over to try to pull him to safety, the alligator swam off with the little boy. The boy's mother frantically searched the water, hoping the alligator had let go of her son.

A complex, comprehensive search and rescue operation ensued, utilizing boats, divers, sonar, and helicopters. A total of five alligators were removed from the lagoon, euthanized, and examined for any signs of the toddler; none were found. Approximately 16 hours into the exhaustive search, divers located the boy's body, and were able to recover it. The little boy's body was completely in tact, a perhaps small measure of comfort in an otherwise colossal tragedy.


While an alligator attack is a relatively rare occurrence (there were 9 unprovoked attacks in Florida in 2015, with only one fatality), vacations and summer outings present real risks. Part of the reason is due to the inherent nature of travel itself: being in unfamiliar places; being distracted by new sights and experiences; and being fatigued from extra activity and jet lag are all conditions which lead to accidents and injuries. Staying aware of your surroundings, planning rest times and adjustment for different time zones, and not attempting more on vacation than you are able to do at home are good guidelines for enjoying your vacation and staying safe.

The other reason that vacations and outings can be dangerous is that even the best resorts, amusement parks, national parks, and other family destinations can become hazardous under negligent ownership and/or employees. If the employees at a resort are not properly trained or qualified for operating the shuttle bus, e.g., and an accident involving the shuttle occurs, the accident may be due to the negligent hiring practices of the resort. Similarly, if a park rents bicycles to be used on its trails but fails to maintain them properly and a bicycle accident occurs due to this failure, then the accident could be attributed to the negligence of the park owner who breached his duty of care to provide safe equipment to all guests.

Many accidents at resorts and parks occur due to negligent maintenance of property. Slip and fall accidents due to wet, obstructed, or poorly lit areas and elevator accidents due to faulty repairs or lack of maintenance on the elevator are two good examples of how harm can result from this type of negligence. In addition to faulty repairs and lack of maintenance, negligence can also arise from a resort or park failing to comply with state and/or federal regulations that pertain to it. For instance, if water at a water park was found to be contaminated because the park was not in compliance with water treatment regulations, then the park could be held liable for negligently causing the contamination and any harm that ensued.


If you or a loved one has been injured while at a resort, amusement park, national park or other popular destination, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

Phone: (678) 264-8348.
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