Recently, while a man and his family were visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX, 911 had to be called because the man’s finger was severed by an exhibit. The victim had to undergo multiple surgeries that were unsuccessful in reattaching his finger over an eight-day period.
The exhibit, named Jump, allows visitors to compare their own vertical jump height to that of a professional athlete. Participants must jump up to try to touch a button at the top of the display. The exhibit showed to have an alleged design defect that could result in a premises liability claim against the museum.
Once the father jumped and tried to push the button, he found his wedding ring caught on the button, resulting in his severed finger. Emergency medical help was called immediately, and he was able to take his finger to the hospital in order to have it reattached, but doctors were not able to succeed after many attempts.
Premises Liability for Museums
and Recreational Facilities
The general public has the legal right to expect museums and recreational facilities to maintain their premises in a safe manner. Dangers must be anticipated and guarded against. Faulty exhibits and equipment must be removed prior to someone suffering an injury. Hazardous conditions must post proper warnings prior to allowing guest access to the display or equipment. The museum in this case may be liable for not anticipating the hazard that the exhibit incurred or if the design of the display posed danger.