$100,000.00 - VERDICT - Dead Tree Branch @ Park

“If it predictable its preventable”, as the cartoon above illustrates. Bottom Line: Dead tree branches fall, it is predictable and therefore dead tree branches must be removed form over designated camp sites. If not, its just a matter of time before a customer suffers personal injury or death from a falling branch.

A business must protect its customers from dangerous conditions on the property. A business open to the public must check for and remove  dangerous conditions to prevent injury and protect its customers. If a business violates these safety rules, and as a result, someone is injured, the business is responsible for the harm.

The James Foundation manages Meramec Springs Park near Rolla, MO. The James Foundation rents campgrounds to the public. One of these campgrounds is called the “circle campground”. The circle campground is a little over an acre in size and has 15 designated campsites. They maintain the campground, they mow it, provided designated and numbered campground sites, picnic tables, fire pits, provide electric to some sites, bathroom, and a shower house.

Upon check in, the park employees designate which numbered campsite the campers are supposed to go and a map of where to camp.

On May 16, 2015, the park is having a Kids Fishing Day Event. A camper arrives at the park with his two kids. The James Foundation charges them money to use the campground and assigns them to a camp site at the circle campground.

The camper and his family set up a tent at the designated area in the “circle campground” and begin enjoying their weekend. Later that evening the camper goes to into his tent, moves his sleeping kids over to make room and lays down on his back.

While the camper is asleep, a dead tree branch falls from a 60’ sycamore tree. The tree branch crashes thru the camper’s tent and lands on his stomach causing internal injuries and almost hitting his children. The camper requires emergency abdominal surgery. He has permanent scarring and suffers pain when using his stomach muscles.

We sued the park because they chose not to inspect and make the campground safe from dead tree branches. A known danger. The Defendant told campers set up their tents in the Circle campground. The park  did not inspect the campground for dead tree branches and did not remove  dead tree branches that hang over the campsites.

The Defendant admitted they are responsible for inspecting the campground to make it safe, including inspecting for dead tree branches and removing them. The only record they have of dead branches being removed is on June 3, 2015, several weeks after this dead branch fell.

At trial we proved the following and the jury returned a verdict of $100,000.00, the amount we asked for.

  1. The camper followed the park rules and did what was expected of him by the Park.
  2. The Park did not do proper inspections for dead tree branches.
  3. The Park did not remove dead tree branches from over the circle campground for many, many years, if ever.
  4. It is foreseeable dead tree branches will fall.
  5. The branch that fell on the camper was a dead tree branch.
  6. The camper’s injuries are from the dead tree branch landing on him

Call the St. Louis personal injury lawyers at Sansone & Lauber today for a free consultation. (314) 863-0500.