Taking a child to the zoo can be an exciting and educational experience for kids and parents alike. Children may be particularly enthralled with the more exotic animals, wanting to get as close as possible to the enclosure or even desiring to touch the animals. However, at the more dangerous exhibits, even with the protective enclosures, this may not be a good idea.
A Pittsburgh family experienced a parent's worst nightmare when their toddler fell into an exhibit containing African wild dogs and was mauled to death. The mother had lifted the child up to the railing to get a better look at the animals; when the child leaned forward, he fell into the enclosure with the pack of wild dogs.
The family recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the zoo. The case alleges that the zoo was negligent in maintaining the African wild dog exhibit because it knew that parents often lifted children onto the railing. The railing, which is wooden, looked out over the exhibit and did not have any glass or other protective covering. The lawsuit also alleges that the zoo's emergency response plan, which included "blank and useless tranquilizer darts," was insufficient.
A wrongful death attorney can help the surviving family members bring a case on behalf of the victim's estate. To bring a wrongful death suit, the death must have been caused by the negligence of another. Damages in a wrongful death suit are primarily financial, and can include medical and funeral expenses, as well as compensation for loss of support or loss of services. The amount of the loss is determined by looking at many factors particular to the victim's age and condition at the time of the death. While money cannot replace a lost loved one, it may be able to remove some of the financial stain associated with a death.
Source: Yahoo! News, "Parents sue Pittsburgh Zoo over toddler's mauling death," Jonathan Barnes, May 23, 2013