7-Year-Old Drowns at Dinosaur Adventure Land

With the arrival of warmer weather, as well as the COVID-19 epidemic, many families will be searching for recreational activities for themselves and their children. In many cases, families will opt for day trips to theme parks and summer camps that combine “summer fun” with religious education in the parent’s chosen beliefs. Unfortunately, some such amusement centers and camps will save money by “cutting corners” with regard to common sense safety. In today’s post the drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm reports on a recent drowning death at a religious-themed park

The Accident

According to online sources a 7-year-old boy drowned earlier this month at “Dinosaur Adventure Land,” a small pro-creationism amusement venue in Monroe County, Alabama operated by Kent “Dr. Dino” Hovind through his Creation Science Evangelism organization. A news item appearing in the Monroe Journal reported that the child apparently fell unnoticed from a dock adjacent to a small pond on the property and drowned in 3 feet of water. The same article reports that, although lifejackets were available near the accident site, the victim was not wearing a personal flotation device when his body was discovered. The Journal also noted that no lifeguards were on duty at the time of the accident.

Negligence often leads to drowning accidents

If the online and Journal reports are true, it would appear that Dinosaur Adventure Land could be held liable for this child’s death on the grounds that Dinosaur Adventure Land was grossly negligent in 1) not having a trained lifeguard on duty, 2) failure to monitor the activities of visitors (especially children) when near water, and 3) failure to provide adequate training in water safety for staff and volunteers. These liability issues, and others, are discussed in the following sections.

Premises liability

As we have noted in other posts, it is a well-established principle of law that the owner of a property is responsible for the consequences of any accidental injuries occurring on that property. In law, this is known as the doctrine of premises liability and is generally accepted by the courts of every state. Since the accident happened on property controlled by Dinosaur Adventure Land, the owners of that property could be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Failing to have a lifeguard on duty

Any theme park or recreation area that borders on water should have someone, preferably a trained lifeguard on duty to monitor visitors who venture near ponds, streams, and rivers. If such an individual is not present and a drowning accident occurs, the absence of a lifeguard would most likely be interpreted as negligence.

Failure to monitor visitors

Any recreation venue is responsible for keeping an eye on the activities of its visitors to reduce that possibility that a visitor could be accidentally injured. If a facility fails to provide adequate supervision of its guests, or fails to provide adequate training for its staff and volunteers, such failure could well be interpreted as negligence.

Failure to train staff and volunteers

According to its website, Dinosaur Adventure Land actively recruits volunteers by stating “Help out for the day, stay for the week, or see if a longer-term volunteer position is the right fit. Free RV and camper hook-ups for volunteers on a first-come-first-serve basis, as well as limited cabin space.” In doing so, Dinosaur Adventure Land is legally and morally obligated to provide safety training for those volunteers as well as its paid staff employees. If it can be shown that Dinosaur Adventure Land failed to provide such training, it could be seen as evidence of negligence.

Visit at your own risk” and waivers of liability

Even though Dinosaur Adventure Land did not charge admission it did imply that, by notifying visitors that they (visitors) were responsible for their own conduct, the facility could not be sued. In general, the courts have rejected such claims on the basis that the right to claim damages following an accidental injury is a fundamental human right of every citizen. Therefore, since a fundamental right cannot be waived under any circumstance, these warnings are no defense in a lawsuit alleging negligence.

Contacting a drowning accident lawyer

Drowning accidents involving children are always tragedies. Sadly, such accidents are made even more tragic because many drowning accidents could have been prevented if a trained lifeguard or recreation supervisor had been present.

If you have lost a family member to a drowning accident, we invite you to contact the drowning accident lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free, no obligation, review of the facts in your drowning accident case and a discussion of the legal options that may be available to you.

When you contact The Doan law Firm to discuss your family member’s drowning accident there is never a charge for our time spent with you or for your first consultation with our drowning accident lawyer. Should you decide that a lawsuit is in order, and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a a percentage of the final settlement that we are prepared to win for you.