Anyone in Ohio or elsewhere in the country working around animals faces certain inherent dangers that could result in serious or fatal personal injuries. This is exactly what happened to a 22-year-old intern in North Carolina. The woman was cleaning an animal enclosure at a zoo when the incident occurred. According to a statement by the zoo, lions were somehow allowed to get out of a locked space and into the area where the routine cleaning was taking place. It was one of these lions that attacked and fatally injured the worker.
It’s unclear if any wrongful death litigation will result from the incident. However, the lion involved with the attack was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. Zoo officials plan to investigate the incident to determine how the lions were able to escape their enclosure and get into the area where they were in direct contact with humans. The zoo remains closed until further notice pending results from the investigation.
Authorities said that the intern, a recent university graduate, had been working at the zoo for about two weeks before the incident occurred. Nearly a hundred animals from 20 species are housed at the facility, including 20 large cats. More than 16,000 visitors come to the zoo involved with this incident annually. The zoo had previously accented lions confiscated by the government when it was discovered that they were being contained in places with unacceptable conditions.
If it’s discovered that some type of negligence on the part of the zoo contributed to this incident, a lawyer may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s surviving family members. With incidents of this nature, an attorney might look at what types of safety procedures the zoo had in place to prevent animals from getting out of enclosed areas without supervision. Age of the deceased individual, their earnings capacity, and the circumstances of the deceased’s dependents are some of the factors used to calculate how much compensation may be awarded with such cases.
Source: NBCNews.com, “Escaped lion kills 22-year-old intern at North Carolina zoo,” Janelle Griffith, December 30, 2018