Another high profile lawsuit has resulted in a settlement. This lawsuit for wrongful death against Walt Disney World involved the terribly tragic death of a 4-year old, who died of heart complications after riding “Mission: Space.” CourtTV News has the full story: Click here to read the details on this story.
Just as a refresher (search past articles here at Law in Life for other cases that settled), when parties of a lawsuit agree to settle, the case is dismissed, and no further litigation regarding liability for damages is sought.
A settlement however, typically does not include an admission of liability for the damages, despite what the public perception of settlements may be. Sometimes, a party may agree to settle for a certain amount of money because continuing to pursue a lawsuit (or in this case, defend against a lawsuit) may end up costing more than it would to settle.
In addition, a party may be inclined to settle in order to avoid further degradation of public perception. Finally, a party may wish to settle if the likelihood of prevailing in the suit becomes increasingly slim.
Another interesting part of this story is the issue of the boy’s heart condition. The story indicates that the boy had a pre-existing heart condition, and that the signs at the ride were allegedly not sufficient in warning people of the hazards that were presented by the ride. Even though the boy had a pre-existing heart condition, Walt Disney World had a duty to warn the boy of the possible effects of the ride. Due to the settlement, no statement or finding on liability have been made in this case.