Tragic Event Leads to Lawsuit

A 4-year-old child was killed after being crushed by a tombstone in a private graveyard in 2012. That event led to a lawsuit being filed in Park City Utah, the trial for which began on October 27, 2015. The plaintiffs are seeking $300,000 in damages from the association that owns and takes care of the graveyard.

According toreports, the young boy was killed after playing in and around the 250 pound tombstone when it fell over and crushed him, killing him. The parents, representing the boy’s estate, blame the association for failing to keep their tombstones in a safe condition. As evidence for this, it was reported that children have been invited to visit the graveyard, and even make color rubbings of tombstones in the graveyard.

Not an Isolated Incident

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. In fact, a girl of the same age was killed while playing in a cemetery in North Carolina in 2012. In that case the a 1,200 pound cross fell on the girl and she was killed instantly. And it was also reported that a similar accident happened in 2014 when a tombstone fell on a small boy in Albany, New York and caused severe injuries.

All of these incidents should serve as a somber reminder to everyone with small children, and others who could be in a cemetery. Whether visiting relatives who have passed on, or going to a funeral service, it is important that each of us keep safety first and foremost in our minds. Clearly, graveyards are not checked for safety in the same way as other areas, and it might be taken as granted that a tombstone will not fall over.

At the same time, it makes sense that a cemetery would present an issue of safety. These tombstones are heavy and made of stone. And they are exposed to the elements 24 hours a day. The wind beats on them, rains makes the ground them muddy, and as we see in Florida, the ground can shift, causing things to move.

Property Owners Have Responsibility

Even though we should all be alert when it comes to dangers like these, property owners have a responsibility to ensure that the public is safe when they come to visit a cemetery. Minimum measures that any property owner should take include:

  • Regular inspections to ensure that areas where the public go are safe;

  • Signs warning the public of apparent and hidden dangers; and,

  • Designating area where the public is welcome and where they should not go.

Unfortunately, we too often see the results of property owners who are negligent when it comes to the safety of the public. As a result, people get hurt and are left paying for hospital and other bills.

If you live in the Panama City are and have been injured on the someone’s property, contact us. At The Pittman Firm we represent victims who are injured due to negligence by property owners. These kinds of cases are known as premises liability cases, and we have been practicing this area of law for a long time. We look forward to going over your case with you and providing you with your legal options.

See related blog posts: Florida Supreme Court Upholds $4.5 Million Verdict in Premises Liability Case; Dangerous Sidewalk: Who Is at Fault?.

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