Property owners in West Virginia may occasionally wonder how far they must go to prevent accidents. Near the close of the year 2018, a case was brought against Universal Orlando Resort that illustrates how premises liability law can have its gray areas. The plaintiff’s contention is that the theme park should have had warning signs posted in Spanish.
The plaintiff is the family of a 38-year-old Guatemalan man with previous heart problems who suffered a fatal heart attack after going on the ride “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” Outside, a sign in English warned that the sudden movements during the virtual truck ride could harm those with heart conditions, abnormal blood pressure and back or neck conditions as well as expectant mothers. Drawings accompanied the warnings.
The man felt unwell after the ride and rested on a bench while his wife and son went on another ride. Upon their return, they found he had collapsed. He died later at the hospital.
Though Universal Orlando has not commented on pending litigation, the lawsuit states that the park is aware of the large number of non-English-speaking tourists it receives. The Universal Orlando blog has Spanish and Portuguese translations.
Orlando was the top U.S. destination in 2017, welcoming over 72 million visitors that year. More than 6 million came from outside the U.S., and of those, less than 600,000 were from Spanish-speaking countries.
Premises liability cases can involve confined space injuries, injuries on sidewalks or parking lots and much more. To be successful, such a case must show that the property owner clearly neglected the duty of care to entrants. Property owners may even be responsible for injured trespassers under the doctrine of the attractive nuisance. A victim may want to see a lawyer for an evaluation. Once hired, the lawyer can build the case up with evidence and proceed to negotiations.