The best thing about summertime is getting outdoors and doing something new and exciting with family and friends. But this week’s news reminds us that it ruins the fun when someone gets seriously injured. Our daily work in Personal Injury Law tells us that yes, “accidents happen,” but it also tells us that there is almost always a “rewind trail” of missed opportunities that could have led to different outcomes, regardless of who is ultimately legally responsible. When it comes to adventure, a good measure of caution and vigilance is always needed. The more wild the situation, the more care is typically required.
When a small child climbed into the gorilla pen at the Cincinnati Zoo last week, the zoo moved expeditiously to minimize harm to the boy, shooting the gorilla dead. Since then, the internet has lit up with accusations of wrongdoing, and debate over the proper course of action. A lot of this discussion has centered around whether the boy’s safety should have been given preeminence, but we can tell you that from a liability standpoint, the zoo operators had to do everything possible to protect the child. If he had been injured or killed, they would have likely have been held responsible on every level by the law.
Closer to home, in Northern Virginia, a young man in Ashburn was critically injured while jumping from a rope swing into a creek in one of Loudoun County’s residential neighborhoods. It was a place where lots of teens gather, but reports indicate that many people felt that it was “just a matter of time” before someone got hurt. A “No Trespassing” sign used to mark the site off limits, but liability in this case will be complicated by the fact that not only had someone removed that sign, but a clearly defined path had been built leading to the supposedly off-limits area.
We are sending wishes for a safe, adventurous summer ahead. Whatever fun you chose, especially in this graduation season, we encourage you to bring a good measure of caution and care with you.