Toddler Injured in Zoo Private Animal Encounter
A toddler is recovering after being injured at a zoo in Florida during a private rhino encounter with her family. The two-year-old girl and her family were having an up-close experience at the Brevard Zoo with white rhinos when the girl fell and came into contact with one of the animals. The family of three had been given permission and access to brush and feel the rhinos while being supervised by two zookeepers. They were separated from the animals with steel posts.
The girl was injured when she stumbled backwards between the post and sprawled into the exhibit. The posts are roughly 11 inches apart. Two of the female rhinos approached the child and the snout of one of them made contact with the child. Her father was holding on to her throughout the incident and was able to pull her out of the enclosure where she was taken to a pediatric hospital in the area.
Zoo officials aren’t certain what the child’s injuries are, but they don’t believe any contact with their feet or horns was made. They have been told by the family that the girl is expected to make a full recovery. The girl’s mother was also treated for an arm injury, and the zoo reports they don’t know how her injuries occurred.
The zoo is considering changes to the barrier and all premium animal encounter experiences at the zoo have been suspended until a safety review can be completed. The rhino experience has been offered daily since 2009 without any other incidents.
Can a Zoo Be Held Liable?
Florida has many top-rated aquariums and zoos including SeaWorld, Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Exotic Animal Experience, and many more. Thousands of families visit these parks every year and expect to stay safe from the dangers of the animals. Zoos are required to protect those that visit from any foreseeable hazards, including those posed by animals, employees, or property defects.
Unfortunately, situations can arise that are unexpected, or a facility may not take the required steps to protect their patrons. This may include not having proper safety procedures in place or failing to maintain those that are in place.
Assessing a Zoo Injury
Ultimate, a zoo injury claim will depend on the presence of negligence. When it comes to premises liability claims, three things must be considered:
- Was a standard of care owed?
- Was the injury foreseeable?
- Could the zoo have done something different?
In order for there to be a premises liability claim, the zoo must have had a duty of care to protect their patrons, must have been aware of a problem that could result in an injury, and must have been able to take steps to prevent the injury but failed to do so.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney Today
When you take your family to the zoo, you expect to have an enjoyable time and be safe from any potential dangers. If you or your family member was injured while visiting a zoo, you may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Contact the Florida premises liability attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez today and let us ensure that your rights are protected.