by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
The general duty in the law to warn against known or potential dangers whether you are a drug manufacturer, homeowner or business owner is well settled. We have all seen signs such as "Caution: Wet Floor," "Beware of Dog," or "Danger: Keep Out!" These warning signs are often necessary in order to safeguard against accidents, injuries or even death. The cost of a warning sign is infinitesimal compared to what the result could be, if there is a failure to warn. Unfortunately, the duty to warn is all too often disregarded or ignored.
The duty to warn of known or potential dangers is perhaps never more important than when it applies to children. Although at times parents may be negligent in supervising their own children, even the most vigilant of parents know that children can get into a dangerous situation in an instant or with the mere turn away of the parental head.
In the recent case involving Disney World and the alleged failure to warn of alligators in a man made lake, the horrific ending was the loss of a 2 year old boy. Although litigation is almost inevitable to determine legal fault, there is no amount of money that can compensate parents for the loss of a child. Disney proffered a statement expressing sympathy for the loss, with the glaring absence of an apology so as to avoid any form of admission of negligence or wrongdoing. More disturbing are the several testimonials of prior alligator sightings in the vicinity of children in the same area at Disney.
All this raises many questions as to whether or not Disney did enough to safeguard their guests at the "Happiest place on Earth." In hindsight, many believe that posting warning signs was the very least Disney could have and should have done. Further, that although the omnipresence of alligators in Florida may be well known to Floridians, people from other parts of the country and world would not expect to find deadly alligators in a man made body of water off a beach in the middle of Disney World.
Regardless of any legal outcome in this matter, it will never restore the precious life of that 2 year old boy or fill the permanent void in the lives of the grieving parents and family. Any tragedy is difficult to accept, but this is especially true if it is deemed to have been avoidable. Our prayers go out to that little boy and his entire family and may God bless them, comfort them and ease their pain.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.