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You probably can't sue if you're struck by lightning, but you may be able to sue if a tree falls on you while camping.
At first blush, both may seem like random acts of God. However, while lightning strikes are probably completely unpredictable and happen in an instance, the fact is that trees usually take some time to fall and there are steps that a park can take to prevent injury.
As the summer camping season kicks up, you are sure to read about camping injuries and tragedies. If you have been hurt, you'll want to know whether you can bring a lawsuit for your camping injuries. In many cases, you may be surprised that someone could be held liable for acts of nature.
Last year, campers were killed by fallen trees, waterfalls, and bears. Parks that encourage campers to visit have some responsibility to protect their visitors just as a restaurant or retail store would have responsibility to keep their premises safe too.
Under the legal theory of premises liability, an entity that invites others onto their property or offers a service for money, could be held responsible for injuries that happen on the property. For example, a park that runs a campsite, should take steps to check trees that are at risk for falling and take steps to cut these trees down before they accidentally fall on an unsuspecting camper. Also, if a rainstorm is about to hit, a park could forewarn tourists not to hike up a trail that may be safe when dry, but treacherous when wet.
In some respects, a park is no different than a store inside a mall. If you invite members of the public to come onto your property, you bear some responsibility to protect them. However, be aware that a camping injury lawsuit can't just be brought for any reason. Sometimes, an act of God is an act of God, where no one is responsible for the harm. A personal injury attorney can help you clarify just when God is acting.
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