Who's At Fault? When Normal Human Behavior And Normal Animal Behavior Collide

Recent animal attacks, such as the alligator attack at Disney and the bear attack during a New Mexico marathon, have raised issues about who is at fault (or if anyone is at fault) when a wild animal attacks a human. Sometimes the liability is clear-cut; for example, if the victim ignored specific warning signs and deliberately got into a situation that could lead to an attack. But if you have been injured in an animal attack where there is an extenuating circumstance that doesn't point liability at you, you may be able to get reimbursed for medical costs if liability can be established. However, that depends on a number of factors.

What Did the Signs Say?

Whoever runs the event or manages the location where the attack took place needs to have provided sufficient warning, for the most part. Unfortunately, common sense doesn't always mitigate this liability. Much has been made of the silly warnings on many products about not doing things that could obviously cause harm, such as not eating paint. But the warnings are necessary from a legal standpoint in order to cover the company or person's rear in the event of a problem. So if an attack occurs in a situation where there was no warning or inadequate warning, the landowner, event organizer, or what have you could be liable for the attack because they didn't warn you properly.

What Knowledge Did the Victim Have?

Then there's the issue of just what you knew about the danger yourself. For example, a native Floridian might know not to go wading into water on golf courses in Florida -- those are often home to alligators -- but someone visiting from a state that doesn't have alligators might not know that even shallow wading can be a danger. So the native Floridian may have to assume at least some liability because they knew what the danger was, but the out-of-stater might truly have not known.

What Actions Was the Victim Taking?

The actions of the victim (or you, if you were the victim) are a big issue as well. For example, if you approach bear cubs in the wild, chances are the cubs' mother is going to see you as a threat and attack you. It could be difficult to blame park management or rangers for your injuries even if you had no idea that mother bears will attack to protect their young. On the other hand, if you had been hiking in an area where you had been told there were no bears, and you got attacked even though you had not purposefully gone near any cubs or dens, then the person who told you there were no bears might have some responsibility depending on the other circumstances.

Liability isn't something you're going to be able to determine on your own. You'll need the help of a very good personal injury attorney who can investigate all of the circumstances surrounding what happened to ensure that your case is built on solid evidence before going to court. What might seem like obvious evidence to you could be subject to precedents and laws that you are unaware of, so contact personal injury lawyers in your area as soon as possible. To learn more, visit a website like http://www.putnamlieb.com