Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to parades that people don’t like to think about. After all, parades are also a large collection of people, all in the same space, with limited mobility, and large props or vehicles in the form of the parade floats themselves, or balloons. And sometimes, when things go wrong during a parade, they can have tragic consequences.
Death & Injury In Canadian Parades
Just last year in the port town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, an annual parade to celebrate the coming of Christmas was held for the townsfolk. The Santa Claus Parade was an event for the families of the area to build up excitement for the holiday season, but in 2018, tragedy abruptly ended the festivities when a little girl, four-year-old MaCali Cormier, decided to run alongside one of the floats and try to keep up with it during the parade. Unfortunately, she got caught up by the float and was run over by it, leading to her death, and traumatizing the parade-goers.
Years before that, in 2008, a parade-goer in Toronto took part in what should have been a fun, harmless activity, where sweets like candy and chocolate bars were being thrown out to parade goers. He was hit directly in the eye by an errant chocolate bar and permanently lost sight in that eye. He then went on to sue the parade organizers for personal injury and eventually reached a settlement.
However, in both cases, we see a similar theme. A large, public event, held in a public space, with the public at large results in an injury, or even death. When a tragedy like this occurs, someone must be held accountable, and in Florida law, this is covered by a legal mechanism known as premises liability.
The Rules Of Liability
Under ordinary circumstances, premises liability is something that applies to fixed locations, such as a home, a business like an auto-repair shop, or a tourist attraction, such as the many entertainment park/complexes that dot Florida, like the Disney World resort. In these instances of permanent structures, premises liability is about legal responsibility for the property owner. Whether it is a homeowner or the owner of a manufacturing facility, a property owner has an obligation to ensure a reasonable amount of safety for people who visit a property.
This means, for example, that a homeowner who has an aggressive dog that bites all strangers, can’t just leave that do unattended to bite anyone that visits. And if a shopping mall has a defective escalator that moves too fast and throws people off, resulting in injury, the mall owners must stop operation of the escalator, block it from public access, repair the issue and confirm it is safe for public use again.
If a property owner does not do these things, then any injury that occurs as a result of their neglecting a potential danger is their legal and, ultimately, financial responsibility if there are any injuries or deaths that may require financial compensation.
It Works On A Temporary Basis As Well
This same duty of care, as it is called, is also present at temporary events, like parades. Just because this is a short event held in a public space, it does not mean that no one is responsible for ensuring a reasonable amount of safety for the people attending. As with a shopping mall, whoever is organizing an event, such as a parade, is also accepting the legal, duty of care responsibilities that would come with an event at a fixed location.
This means that if you, or someone you know was attending a parade, and sustained an injury, or even died, as a result of an incident at the parade that could have been easily avoided with a little prudence and priority on safety, someone else may be at fault. If a fight breaks out between two people, that of course, is usually a matter between the two participants. However, if, as with the Toronto 2008 parade incident, someone was permanently blinded as a result of parade participants throwing something at a person’s face, there may be a liability and a legal case there.
If that happens, and some aspect of the parade itself as at fault, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer about your slip and fall, or other premises liability claim. They can help you to narrow down your exact situation, and show what steps you should take next if you have a court case with real legal weight.