Family sues over a tree falling

8:56 a.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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So an Idaho family ids now sing the forest service because a tree fell on their son while backcountry camping on forest service land..... ridiculous. http://news.yahoo.com/idaho-family-sues-usfs-1m-180507334.html

9:10 a.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Very sad. Any maybe a desperate attempt to defray medical costs?

What stood out to me was the attorney representing the family stating that the tree was an "obvious hazard". If it was so obvious why did they camp there?

Most of us that camp below tree line regularly look for such hazards as a primary criterion when selecting a campsite, but I could see where folks car camping may not have developed that habit.

9:59 a.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I first thing foresters learn in the woods is to look up.  Do it a lot.  When the wind is blowing, do not trust any trees but the young, green ones.

12:51 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I think the issue lies more with the established campsite. I'm sorry that the boy has lasting injuries. However, expecting that the FS, or any entity, can remove all potential hazards or place disclaimers is a specious argument. If they prevail, all dead trees and branches within a 2-3 hundred foot radius of any established camp would have to be removed. What about pointy rocks, or exposed roots that potentially could trip someone.

At some point, parents, adults, even children above a certain age, have to take some responsibility for their existence and survival on the planet.

1:05 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Some people should be wrapped in bubble wrap...

Sadly, this will probably be paid out, hitting the forestry service even harder.  Either way, there will be legal bills.

Brings to mind the top Gear sasfety briefing "Don't have an accident.  and if you do have an accident, remember, it was an accident"

3:16 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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They might win. 

Does the campground owner have a responsibility to remove dangerous trees?  If someone fell through a rotted plank in a dock would the owner be responsible?  I bet a good lawer could talk a jury into agreeing with the family.

I hate frivolous lawsuits but if I were a gambler I might put money on the family walking away with some money from this incident.  I may be WAY wrong too, that's why I don't gamble.

4:18 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I can’t imagine the man-power needed to inspect every limb of every single tree for health and then remove questionable ones; in a state forest.

 I have a rather large maple tree in my front yard at home (93 years old at least), and it’s mostly healthy but from time to time huge limbs fall off that thing. We always glance up before walking underneath from our front door to the driveway. I’m not going to drop that magnificent tree because it sheds a big limb now and then. But those limbs could kill someone.(I’m surprised our outside dwelling cat hasn’t been caught yet as she loves to lounge in the lower limbs). My point being that it isn’t feasible to groom and cull a forest for potential falling hazards.

4:37 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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redriverrogue said:

Some people should be wrapped in bubble wrap...

Sadly, this will probably be paid out, hitting the forestry service even harder.  Either way, there will be legal bills.

Brings to mind the top Gear sasfety briefing "Don't have an accident.  and if you do have an accident, remember, it was an accident"

 Reminds me of a Mt Hardwear tent I got about 15 years ago that came with instructions.  To paraphrase---"Do not set up under trees."  "Do not set up in direct sunlight." 

4:43 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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As mentioned by someone else I think it is more of an argument concerning an established well known campsite, now thats your can of worms. This could be an even larger issue if You are required to camp in a specific campsite in a defined tent space. Can you imagine all the areas that are trying to wrangle people from heading off to camp willy nilly and requiring them to camp in reserved places in order to preserve the wilderness? Lets say they require you to camp under that tree only and then it falls over, that is an issue for sure. If this was a non designated (by the NFS) spot but just became a known site that is different IMO. I do however agree with the common sense approach. Hey people look up and do not trust a campsite just because it has been used before. Actually this is precisly why I usually keep hiking when I come across these spots.

As far as random trees in the forest, nobody can be held responsible for that imo. As far as Established campgrounds where people drive in and car camp, well then yes, I would think the camp hosts are responsible in keeping those sites as safe as reasonably can be expected.

5:09 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

 Reminds me of a Mt Hardwear tent I got about 15 years ago that came with instructions.  To paraphrase---"Do not set up under trees."  "Do not set up in direct sunlight." 

 How about in a cave or under a rock? Maybe in a Holiday Inn?

5:09 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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The family may win. We live in a litigious society. The issue if they win, is the precedent that would be set. 

Next will be signs and waiver forms proclaiming, 

"This is a natural area. As such, it is devoid of handrails, ramps, child proof areas. It also contains animals, plants and geologic features that are hazardous and may cause injury and death. As such, the United States Forest Service, all other government or private entities, including the rest of the planet, whether specifically named or not, take no responsibility and assume no liability for any injury, death, emotional trauma or discomfort arising from your experience or lack of same, in this area."

Not to belittle the child's obvious injuries, but if they win, what next? Someone could litigate a national park because ants attacked their picnic.

8:54 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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And while we are up in the trees culling limbs, don't forget to harvest all those evil dive bombing pine cones.

Let me see.  We are camping in nature and a limb falls, which IS an act of nature.  Nevertheless we hold humans accountable, but not the ones who stood under the tree or allowed their spawn to do so.  I suppose if an earthquake occurred or a sinkhole gave way, causing junior to fall into the earth, this family would sue the park for that too?  How about injuries arising from tornadoes, bee stings, eating hot BBQ chicken, or poking one's eye out with an ice cream cone?  Not to mention requiring erection of barriers around all water falls, streams and lakes, cliffs, and parkways lest someone falls in, get bonked by a rock, or run over by an RV?.  Heck lets just limit accessing the DANGEROUS outdoors to the parking lot outside the visitors center, that way no one gets hurt.  But I imagine even a gift shop can be dangerous:  News Headline! Family sues park over paper cut caused by a Yellowstone post card of people feeding grizzlies.  And my wife asks why I drink…

Ed

9:07 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

Next will be signs and waiver forms proclaiming, 

"This is a natural area. As such, it is devoid of handrails, ramps, child proof areas. It also contains animals, plants and geologic features that are hazardous and may cause injury and death. As such, the United States Forest Service, all other government or private entities, including the rest of the planet, whether specifically named or not, take no responsibility and assume no liability for any injury, death, emotional trauma or discomfort arising from your experience or lack of same, in this area."

 Send the form. All 3 of me(my personalities) will sign it without hesitation. 

9:32 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Keep singing ED I will sit here and hum the melody. Sing it my friend, Kumbiya my friend kum bi ya.

( I agree and like your comments)

9:59 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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A number of years ago, when the North Cascades National Park was being proposed, there was a fairly large outcry against the park because it was (and is) full of downed trees. People might trip over them if they go off trail and get injured. It wasn't sufficiently "park-like", and had a wilderness aspect to it, with people being encouraged to go off-trail and cross country, including climbing mountains with yawning crevasses in the glaciers. Well, ok, it turned out that the money behind the "high danger" outcry was a group of loggers who were losing a potentially large amount of timber, due to the wilderness designation applying to most of the park. Still, the "danger" was what was played up.

On the dog sled outing Barb and I were on in the Alaskan bush, the owner had to include a detailed caution about the risks, including a note that "the nearest medical facility is about 350 miles away, with no road access". When I was in Antarctica, several thousand miles from a real medical facility, we were required to carry $300,000 evacuation insurance. On Denali, we were warned that in case of an accident, the rangers would only seek to rescue you if it did not involve undue danger to their life and limb (most rangers on Denali are volunteer, not salaried), and if you died, there is a high probability that your body will NOT be recovered, but rolled into the nearest crevasse.


There are risks out there, and it is your responsibility to be aware and take precautions.

10:10 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Maybe by 2050 when our population hits 450 million all these questionable wilderness areas will be tamed and subdued into urban-fringe parks.

10:41 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Maybe by 2050 when our population hits 450 million all these questionable wilderness areas will be tamed and subdued into urban-fringe parks.

 That is likely a fact Walter. There are people out there who just hate any wild places left. To them all wild places must be tamed.

Can't understand it.

10:45 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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This thread has inspired me to sue my shrink for the bruises I sustained bashing my head against the walls of my padded cell.

Ed

11:39 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Not sure about federal law or Idaho law, but in CA, there is the doctrine of "assumption of the risk" that protects property owners who invite guests onto their land for recreational purposes-skiing, that sort of thing from these types of suits, as long as the risk is foreseeable and not out of the ordinary. Might be the case here.

10:20 a.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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All these trails need to be paved so that wheelchair bound people can get to places easier and we can all use Segways, hoverboards or golf carts to "Hike" into The Maze, have  picnic near The Harvest Scene, get an instant photo, a hot dog and a beer while our kids pretend to play Cowboys & Indians before we head back to the car. Oh don't forget the charcoal rubbings we can get off the pictographs and the tourist painting wall where we can all try to imitate the petroglyphs.

Excuse me I need to go throw up.

10:55 a.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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trees fall in the woods.  Idaho, like most large states in the west/northwest US, are much too large to expect the park service to monitor and cut down dead trees at every campsite. 

merits aside, lawsuits cost money, and there is some likelihood the park service will settle the matter, bargaining to pay less, to limit legal expenses and minimize risk. 

11:39 a.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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PackerFever said:

All these trails need to be paved so that wheelchair bound people can get to places easier and we can all use Segways, hoverboards or golf carts to "Hike" into The Maze, have  picnic near The Harvest Scene, get an instant photo, a hot dog and a beer while our kids pretend to play Cowboys & Indians before we head back to the car. Oh don't forget the charcoal rubbings we can get off the pictographs and the tourist painting wall where we can all try to imitate the petroglyphs.

Excuse me I need to go throw up.

 We could go 'IN' on puke bucket rentals ya know....... maybe 6 months ago i got into an argument about the taming of wild places,  which some people just won't tolerate.

Not that there are many true wild places left. The 'New" wilderness is just a place where no machines are allowed. I am not to sure what machines really are, since a most stoves are machines and so is a  folding knife.

I know I have been in 'wilderness' but there was nothing very wild about them.

1:42 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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It is not reasonable for the government or a private company to be able to protect people from all the hazards of wild country.  There are many public campgrounds I have refused to sleep in because of dead branches, windthrow and snags.

5:57 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Remember the guy killed by a goat in the Olympics?  I think his family lost their suit.

11:25 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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What is the NFS?  Are you referring to the US Forest Service (USFS)?

Part of the attraction of wild country is the inherrent risks associated with it.

I can recommend backcountry accident insurance for those that engage in risky behavior like climbing, ski mountaineering, etc.  I have taken the $15000 plane ride and my health insurance only paid $5000.

 

2:24 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Well, geeze.  I guess it's obvious now I should have sued the USFS for that sprained ankle I got last summer.  Clearly they should have done a better job of clearing those pesky rocks off the trail!

</sarcasm>

On a more serious note, I'm sorry to hear of their child's injuries.  It would probably be good for them to consider the risks inherent in activities like camping in undeveloped areas, and their own responsibility for taking those risks.

3:41 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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On occasion they speak of a fence around My Mountains. I imagine that fence would work about as well as the one on the southern border.

Maybe a big 'Only Enter at your OWN RISK' sign is in order?

I assume if I enter I must also get my old bones out,  or the buzzards will have at em come spring.

At least i know no cell phone will work here where i am in my mtns.

I have walked on on sprained ankles, impaling myself with a ice axe, burning myself internally to be polite because I swallowed way to hot cereal at Lakes in the Clouds AMC Hut. I think the worst was walking in in boots that ate my shins.

I had a another very ugly incident from breathing 'paper making air' but that is long gone now. The air i mean :-)

3:59 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Actually there are signs like that in some places.  Since you've been to 'Lakes I'm sure you've seen these: 

(from a random link I found)  http://mjtsai.com/photos/albums/2007-05-eisenhower/Eisenhower%2017.jpg

And regarding that hot cereal ... you could have milked the AMC for that one, just like the woman who won a lawsuit against McDonalds years ago for having been served (gasp!) hot coffee!   <grin>

4:16 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound......errrr, ummmm a law suit?

4:17 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Oh yeah I see those signs on every trail at tree line. It doesn't stop the summer crowd a bit. They think nothing of signs like that and it can blow up in summer too. A cold rain and some higher winds can make people pretty uncomfortable wear shorts and sneakers with no extra warmer rain gear.

One of my best sport was pointing at the wheels on the cog railways cars getting ready to go down and laughing. But I don't do that anymore.

Man when I ate that I wanted to spit it out but because there were a summer camp of females sitting at the same table i swallowed it. Couldn't eat anything but water for the next 3 days.

I don't sue.

7:09 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Sage, the family of the man killed by the goat in the Olympics is still pursuing their suit and plan to go to take it to trial. They allege two things. 1. That the Park did not respond quickly enough to save the man's life. I will note that he was gored in the femoral artery and bled out in five minutes. Nothing could have saved him. 2. That the Park did not do enough to prevent the goat being a hazard. This has more chance to succeed because the goat in question had previously exhibited aggressive behavior. However, in the incident, the goat followed the party for an hour, before the man detached himself from the group to try to defend them from the goat. It is hard to second guess, but when dealing with potentially aggressive animals, being in a group is a valid defense. The man and the rest of the party did have some responsibility in this situation.

7:32 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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The really sad thing that has not been debated yet here, is IMHO the possibility to sue for damage the way the US laws allow to do. No other country has laws that enabe to come up with fantasy figures for minor defects/injuries. There is even an internet page for these claims called the stella awards, that deals woth horrendous claims beeing brought to the courts.

The sad thing for the consumers in US is that they pay themselves these claims, as the insurance companies of course just raises their insurance prices to compensate for these claims. Otto

8:15 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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OttoStover said:

The really sad thing that has not been debated yet here, is IMHO the possibility to sue for damage the way the US laws allow to do. No other country has laws that enabe to come up with fantasy figures for minor defects/injuries. There is even an internet page for these claims called the stella awards, that deals woth horrendous claims beeing brought to the courts.

The sad thing for the consumers in US is that they pay themselves these claims, as the insurance companies of course just raises their insurance prices to compensate for these claims. Otto

 I am fully against nonsense and frivolous law suits but here in the US that is a way of life. If you need big money in the USA, all you need do is get super drunk, and then do something stupid, and a lawyer will make sure you both get a gob of bucks.

I know of a case where a surfer hit a sand bar, another where a drunk shot himself in the leg playing quick draw dunk.

Spilling hot drinks, allegedly finding band aids in food, throwing yourself into the path of a moving car, pouring a liquid on the floor in a big box store and falling in it. The list endless.

8:15 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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I think I'll go camp under a tree. who knows, I might just get lucky!

8:28 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Lodge Pole said:

OttoStover said:

If you need big money in the USA, all you need do is get super drunk, and then do something stupid, and a lawyer will make sure you both get a gob of bucks.

Hmmm, where's the nearest liquor store?  A gob of bucks sounds good! <lol> :D

8:33 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

Lodge Pole said:

OttoStover said:

If you need big money in the USA, all you need do is get super drunk, and then do something stupid, and a lawyer will make sure you both get a gob of bucks.

Hmmm, where's the nearest liquor store?  A gob of bucks sounds good! <lol> :D

 I'ld do it, but i am not a drunk..... go figure huh?

7:32 a.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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When I worked in the news industry, I remember a pregnant woman who sued Jack Daniels when her child was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She drank up to a fifth a day while pregnant and claimed Jack Daniels should have made it more clear that such consumption wasn't good for her or the baby.

8:10 a.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Looks te me like LodgePole, not Otto, made the original "If you need big money..." comment. Might save some future confusion if we're careful about that.

My dad's a lawyer, and he used to talk about a case where some guy won a lawsuit against a lawn mower manufacturer after he cut off some fingers using the mower as a hedge trimmer. So I looked it up, and found it on an Urban Legends web site. Never happened. Don't believe everything you hear. Here are some more jaw-droppers, including one guy who - yep - sued himself (unsuccessfully) for 5 million dollars.

Remember, not all these stupid lawsuits are successful, and ultimately it's the (stupid?) jury who decides. 

11:09 a.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Red I see what you mean, but am not sure how that happens. This site runs some what different from any other site i ever posted on.

On the drunk shooting himself, I knew that guy face to face. He hung around a shop I used to work at.

Better detail is he shot himself playing quick draw with a Ruger Single Six .22 single action pistol drunk. He had already lost his drivers lic for the 3rd and last time in NH anyway.

With his winnings for shooting himself he bought a racing dirt bike he couldn't legally ride anywhere in the state and a Camaro Z car he couldn't drive either. He got others to drive him in the car, and he rode the dirt bike up and down the dirt access rod to the rail road tracks. 

I still see no reason why Ruger should have paid out a dime to that fool.

1:11 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

Looks te me like LodgePole, not Otto, made the original "If you need big money..." comment. Might save some future confusion if we're careful about that.

 oops, sorry about that!  I can't edit the original message anymore to correct the attribution ...

9:18 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

BigRed said:

Looks te me like LodgePole, not Otto, made the original "If you need big money..." comment. Might save some future confusion if we're careful about that.

 oops, sorry about that!  I can't edit the original message anymore to correct the attribution ...

 Just blame me everyone else will ;-)

You can join my sis in law #3's fan club ;-)

She says i can only be used as a bad example.

That's nuthin', as my mother in law when she was alive in public referred to me as the cradle robber :-)

9:44 p.m. on April 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound......errrr, ummmm a law suit?

 Well Jake i took this as serious, and went for a wee hike today with my Angel. This is (4/14/2013)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RiKxupY870

he is the answer ok.....  ;-)

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