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City Museum Settles With Family of Boy Who Suffered Brain Damage in Fall

By January 8, 2010Brain Injuries

A recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch touched on a subject important to Missouri head injury attorneys like me. According to the Jan. 5 article, the family of a boy who fell from playground equipment at the City Museum has settled a lawsuit against the museum under confidential terms. Gavin Kirk was 10 when he fell from the museum’s outdoor jungle gym and hit his head. His mother, Michelle Kirk, said MRI tests showed that he suffered brain damage from the incident. The settlement came during jury selection for a trial in the case, which was expected to take a week and start Jan. 4.
The City Museum is an unusual mix of playground, museum and activity center for kids. The article said the Kirks were visiting from Lawrence, Kansas in 2006 when the accident happened. Gavin was climbing on the outdoor jungle gym, but climbed farther than he was supposed to and fell. He spent four days in the hospital. The article did not say whether the accident had permanent effects, although Michelle Kirk did say that Gavin suffered some permanent damage. An expert witness in the case estimated his lifetime damages, for medical care and other costs, at $400,000. The family’s lawsuit argued that the museum should have taken clearer steps to protect children from this type of accident, such as erecting signs to show where climbing isn’t permitted. A museum co-founder said it’s no more dangerous than a playground and that visitors should be sensible as they play.
As a St. Louis brain injury lawyer, I agree that museum visitors have an obligation to take reasonable care. But in an environment like this one, in which children are encouraged to climb and play, it’s not difficult to predict that kids might climb too far. Under Missouri (and Illinois) state law, everyone who invites the public onto their property must make sure visitors aren’t subjected to unreasonable or predictable hazards. That means cleaning up slippery spills, providing handrails on stairs and posting signs warning visitors of risks that can’t be taken away. If they fail to take these precautions, property operators are exposed to lawsuits like this one, from anyone who is hurt as a result of that failure. In most cases, this means slips and falls — but as Gavin Kirk’s case shows, falls and slips can have very serious results.

At the Lowe Law Firm, we are proud to represent people throughout Missouri and southern Illinois who have suffered serious, permanent brain injuries. Unlike injuries to most other parts of the body, brain injuries are always serious because brain tissue won’t grow back in the same way skin and muscle will. Victims of mild concussions may be left with mild memory loss or headaches, but victims of the most serious brain injuries can be left permanently disabled. Our southern Illinois brain damage attorneys are dedicated to helping people who have suffered these injuries because of someone else’s carelessness. In a lawsuit, families can recover all of the costs of the treatment, such as medical bills, nursing care and lost income, as well as damages for their physical pain and any disability.
If your family has suffered a serious head injury and you’d like to learn more about your options, the Lowe Law Firm would like to help. We offer free case evaluations with absolutely no further obligation to you. To set one up, please contact us through the Internet or call 1-877-678-3400 toll-free.