Disney is a popular household name for West Virginia parents and their children, but tragedy struck in June when a child was killed after being dragged by an alligator into a lake surrounding a Walt Disney World resort. According to employees with Disney, the company knew about the risk that alligators in the park posed to guests for quite some time before the tragedy.
At the resort, guests have direct access to wildlife where bungalows sit near the water. There has been an ongoing problem reported by employees of guests feeding the gators as they swam by. Though there were signs posted that said “No swimming,” one employee urged the company to erect a fence to separate guests from the waterline. There were no signs posted to indicate the dangers that the wildlife could pose to unsuspecting guests. Though efforts were made to relocate alligators to areas of the park not frequented by guests, there was no way to keep them from coming back.
Employees who witnessed guests feeding the alligators called company hotlines intended to alert the company of this type of problem, but the issue remained ongoing. Employees have reported feeling deeply upset about the child’s death, as it could have been prevented.
Businesses have a duty to maintain a safe premises for their guests, and a dangerous property condition may subject the business to liability if someone is harmed as a result. People who have suffered injuries as a result of the dangerous condition may want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking compensation from an owner that knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but did not take reasonable steps to correct it.