Injured At The Museum: Who’s At Fault?

A few weeks ago in Overland Park Kansas, a 5-year-old boy while at the museum with his mom, accidently toppled an art piece. The video released by the museum was shared out on social media and made the mom out to be a bad parent not paying attention to what her child was doing. Well, being that 5-year-olds are curious about everything and like to climb on things…the piece ultimately fell, and was damaged.

The museum is blaming the mom for not keeping the boy in check. And, insisting the family pay $132,000 for the replacement cost of the broken sculpture. Now, was the family at fault? Some might think so. And, the video does show the sculpture being knocked over by the boy.

But, there were a few things left out of the viral video…

(1) there was a bridal shower going on in the museum

(2) and also a birthday party,

(3) the sculpture that was broken was not in any way, shape or form secured for safety,

(4) nor was protective glass placed around it.

And, you would think that being a museum they would have at least put up “Do Not Touch” signs so parents could warn their kids not to poke and prod exhibits.

Well, the museum sent Sarah Goodman (the mother of the offending child) an invoice for $132,000 and yes, demanded she promptly pay. Now, in the normal course of breakage within a museum or commercial enterprise typically insurance is called upon to cover injuries or damages.

So, why make an individual pay?

In this case, the insurance company didn’t feel it was justified that they cover their client’s damages when it was, in fact, a curious child that broke the piece while the mother was distracted.

Yet, if the child was injured in anyway because the museum didn’t take safety precautions the $132,000 would no longer be an issue. And most likely the museum and their insurance carrier would be on the hook for millions in a personal injury trial case.

This matter reminds me of a Television Tip Over Case which resulted in the death of a child.

A television weighing 92 lbs. fell from a dresser resulting in a fatal head injury to an infant playing in front of the television on a play blanket spread on the floor. Analysis of the stability of the television established that as little force as 10 lbs. applied at the top of the television, where the channel and volume controls are located, will cause the television to tip. Like many similar televisions, the subject television did not contain any on product warnings relative to a tip-over hazard, nor any other appropriate warnings of any sort disclosing the hazard.

Although the museum piece is not a television, in both cases, the sculpture and television where placed on top of other items (a pedestal and a dresser) that created a potential tip over hazard, injury and or death.

If you’ve been injured and are looking for answers we invite you to make use of the information on our website, and to call our law office at +1 (219) 736-9700 to schedule a time to talk directly to us and see firsthand if we are the right law firm for you.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub, P.C., strive to represent each client aggressively and to obtain prompt and favorable results. We not only aggressively pursue our client’s best interests, but we remain accessible and attentive to our client’s needs.