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Alligator attack is the kind of case to fight

Lawsuits in this county involving personal injury and property damage are to a large degree driven by insurance coverage. If a potentially responsible party who caused harm or injury to an individual has no insurance, suing them may be pointless. While you may obtain a judgment in your favor, they may have no assets from which they could pay the judgment.

This also means that insurance companies and their claims' policies exert a great deal of influence over these cases. If these companies are aggressive in the refusal to pay on many ostensibly legitimate claims, they may force their insureds to sue them in what are known as "bad faith" insurance lawsuits. Their customers argue in these cases that the insurer's refusal to pay the claim is done in "bad faith."

Other factors that influence how claims are paid involve the number of potential claimants or visibility of the claim. When a large hailstorm or other severe weather strikes a metropolitan area like the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, some insurers may try to deny claims to limit their costs.

Negative publicity may also influence a claim. The death of a two-year-old boy at Walt Disney World after an alligator grabbed him from a Disney hotel beach could be subject to the defense that it was a wild animal and landowners traditionally have little duty to protect invitees from such dangers.

Disney is known for aggressively litigating any personal injury claims, in part, because of the millions of visitors who stay at their resorts. This "scares away" questionable claims and while the legal costs of defending an individual case may exceed the cost of settling, Disney likely calculates that they save money in the long run with fewer cases.

The headline news of the alligator attack, however, and the horror of every parent (a prime Disney market) at imagining their child being dragged away by an alligator makes this a case that Disney will likely want to "go away" very quickly.

Any litigation in a court would create a highly visible public record, would subject many of Disney's internal procedures and policies to disclosure and would simply keep reminding people of the tragic death of a small child due to the failure of the resort to adequately warn or protect their guests from foreseeable dangers like alligators.


Source:, "Legal Experts Expect Disney to Settle If Family Sues Over Alligator Attack," Lisa Richwine and Karen Freifeld, June 17, 2106

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