Playing with fire may cause unimaginable pain and long-term consequences. And if any injuries were caused by negligence, the person responsible must pay compensation under Washington state laws.
If you’ve been a victim of injuries caused by negligence, you need to consult a personal injury attorney. But if you play with fire, you’ll likely suffer more than just burns. These people certainly did.
Burned man tries to burn Burning Man organizers
During the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada, people witness performance art involving light or fire and celebrate the end of the fest by burning a man (actually a 60-foot wooden statue) to make a bonfire. That’s the festival-goers’ cue to throw things into it.
In 2009, Los Angeles resident Anthony Beninati attended the festival and decided to throw himself into the fire. Instead of ooh-aah-ing from afar like a normal person, he intentionally walked into the still-burning embers, took some photos, tripped, and accidentally set himself on fire.
He sued festival organizer Black Rock for the accident, accusing them of letting people walk toward the fire despite the lack of safe pathways. The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that Mr. Beninati took part in an event with obvious risks.
The “assumption of risk” doctrine certainly applied in his case. Mr. Beninati knew of the risks and should therefore be responsible, in whole or in part, for the burn injuries he sustained.
Needless to say, the “don’t walk directly into a flaming bonfire because it’s extremely dangerous” doctrine also applied.
The whale tank attack
Meanwhile, there was no fire involved in the incident involving Daniel Dukes, who tempted fate by jumping into a SeaWorld shark tank. We’re not going to make light of a tragic injury, but Mr. Dukes’ situation makes a compelling case to not play with fire.
In 1999, Mr. Dukes managed to sneak into SeaWorld Orlando and took a dip in a tank containing killer whale Tilikum. He did not emerge from the tank alive.
After a series of investigations, it was found that Mr. Dukes had been trespassing and would definitely have been penalized had he survived the hazardous swim. And if he had somehow survived getting mauled by Tilikum, he would have suffered from severe hypothermia from the tank’s 50-degrees cold water.
His parents sued the ocean park, but eventually withdrew it. They reportedly reached a settlement with SeaWorld, but the company later denied it. The suit’s withdrawal may have something to do with Mr. Daniels’ alleged erratic behavior and his history of causing trouble.
The flaming idiocy of a frat bro
The case of Marshall University students, Louis Helmburg III and his frat bro, Travis Hughes, is relatively more festive compared to the previous case. The scholars were at their frat Alpha Tau Omega’s (ATO) house party when Mr. Hughes had the brilliant idea to shoot a bottle rocket from his butt.
Like most plans involving tush-powered torpedoes, this one failed to launch. Instead of shooting fireworks into the sky and dazzling the ATO partygoers with a light-and-sound show, the man-made rocket blew up at the launch site.
Mr. Helmburg claimed that the blast from the butt startled him and caused him to jump three feet off the frat house’s deck, resulting in injuries that barred him from playing on the university’s baseball team. He filed suit against the rocket launcher, the fraternity, and the university.
The case was dismissed when Mr. Helmburg supposedly settled with the property development firm that owns the frat house.
To Mr. Helmburg’s defense, seeing a bottle rocket explode in someone’s rear can induce one to do more than just cover one’s own rocket launcher.
Seattle personal injury lawyers Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams won’t just pull legalese out of thin air to help you make a claim against negligent firestarters. Call our hotline (425-528-8487) or drop our Renton offices a visit.