Virtually everyone from Atlanta has been to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. The Fernbank is a well-known landmark, a popular destination for school trips and families, and an inspiring look at the history of our planet. It even boasts the skeleton of an Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur ever recorded. Unfortunately, while a visit to the museum can be fun, all large attractions like the Fernbank Museum will have occasional accidents—and some can cause serious injuries or even death. If you or someone you love has been hurt while visiting the Fernbank Museum, either as a visitor or while working there, you have rights. You may even be eligible for a substantial financial recovery. You should talk to a personal injury lawyer immediately.
John Foy & Associates can help you. For 20 years we have devoted our practice exclusively to helping the victims of accidents and injuries. We have built up a reputation for success on behalf of our clients, and we have risen from a small local law firm to one of the most respected personal injury law offices in the country. Let us give you a free consultation and discuss your case. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What sorts of injuries are most common at museums like the Fernbank?
Museums are large, sprawling complexes that often have a variety of exhibits, attractions and unusual architectural features. This complexity makes it challenging for any museum to manage consistent safety standards across the entire premises, especially with thousands of visitors coming through. Accidents are inevitable—but that doesn’t mean they weren’t preventable.
The Fernbank Museum has been open since 1992, and in that time it has maintained a very good record on safety. There have been no large, notorious accidents like we’ve seen at Atlanta’s stadiums and arenas. However, anyone who visits should be aware of the types of injuries that are most common in museums and similar venues. The most common are what are called premises liability claims.
Premises liability is just a legal phrase that means whoever owns a property has a responsibility to make it safe for visitors. If they fail to do so, and someone gets hurt, then they are liable for the injury.
Some of the most common premises liability claims are:
- Slip and fall accidents. If museum staff mop the floor and do not put out a wet floor warning, they have created a hazard. Similarly, if another guest spills a beverage and staff do not clean it up, that is also a hazard. Both of these reflect a negligence on the part of the museum, and the museum has some liability if you slip and get hurt.
- Falling on stairs. Staircases and steps of any kind present a hazard because of the risk of tripping or falling. If the stairs are well lit, clearly marked, and have secure handrails, then the museum has done all it can to ensure safety. If any of these elements are absent, however—or if anything else makes the steps unsafe or unusual—then the museum has been negligent in protecting its guests.
- Walkways and parking lots. Any large attraction like a museum has a duty to maintain its outdoor premises as well as the inside. This includes promptly repairing cracked or broken walkways and clearly marking them until they’re fixed. If you were hurt on a badly maintained surface, you have a claim.
None of these accidents are everyday occurrences. But they happen more often than most people realize. It only takes one inattentive museum staff member, or one bad policy, to create a situation where someone can be badly hurt.
Do people ever get hurt in museum exhibits?
It’s rare, but it happens. Most museums consider safety as one of their objectives when designing new exhibits, and we are not aware of any lawsuits involving unsafe exhibits at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. But there is no doubt that curators and exhibit designers are under pressure to make exhibits ever more intricate, creative and interactive. With this added complexity comes added risk. Museums known for particularly creative and “hands on” environments, like the City Museum in St. Louis, tend to see high injury rates, and safety precautions have become a hot topic for exhibit designers in general.
Whenever you enter an exhibit at the Fernbank Museum, you’re trusting that museum staff have designed and built it to be safe. If they overlooked some safety precaution and it results in injury, you should not blame yourself. The law says that their negligence contributed to your injury, and that they are liable for some or all of the costs.
What costs can I recover for an injury at the Fernbank Museum?
It depends on whether you are a visitor or a museum employee.
As a visitor, you may have a claim to recover 100% of your costs and damages related to the injury. This can include:
- All of your medical expenses (including surgery, doctor visits, medication and physical therapy)
- Reimbursement of missed work time or lost wages
- Substantial cash awards for a permanent injury, disability, physical pain and suffering or another serious loss.
The point of this money is not to undo what happened—no amount of money can do that. It is to give you and your family financial stability after a devastating injury, and help you put your life back together.
As an employee you can file a workers compensation claim. Workers comp is a right guaranteed to all workers no matter what your job or how long you’ve been there. It can give you benefits including:
- Free medical care for your injury
- Reimbursement of costs such as travel to and from doctor appointments
- Occupational therapy or other help to return to work
- A temporary paycheck while you are laid up
All injury victims have rights. Often, victims blame themselves or assume there’s nothing that can be done—even if they would otherwise be eligible for a financial award that could total $100,000 or more. Don’t make this mistake. Talk to a lawyer immediately.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer for Free
A museum visit should be fun and memorable—not dangerous. Let us help you. John Foy & Associates has 20 years of experience winning cases for injury victims, and we will give you a FREE no-obligation consultation to help you make the right choice in your case. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.