San Antonio Zoo Accident Injures Seven Guests


In a freak accident, a tree fell on San Antonio Zoo guests on March 15, 2023, injuring seven guests. San Antonio Express-News reported that visitors were sitting on a bench underneath a large tree when they suddenly heard cracking noises from above. Before they had time to react, a large tree limb broke off and fell on top of them. This accident injured five children and two adults, with one of the children in critical condition. A personal injury like this on a business’ property may leave readers wondering if such an injury could lead to a premises liability lawsuit. Let’s take a look at what constitutes a premises liability case in Texas and compare it to what we know about this accident to answer this question.

Did you know?

The Clinical Pediatrics released a study finding that 70% of the 4,423 children injured at amusement parks each year occur in the summer months between late May to early August.

Premises Liability Law in Texas

How liability is determined for injuries on private property is outlined by the Texas Premises Liability Statute. This statute divides liability by victim type, as is the case in many other states. This means that the recovery that the victim is entitled to depends on the type of victim that they are. There are three types of “victims” under this statute.

  1. Invitees – invitees are visitors who are on the property for business purposes. This can mean customers (like in the San Antonio Zoo accident) or even contract workers who are hired to be on the property. These kinds of victims are owed the highest level of duty, which is for the business to ensure that the land is free of unreasonable risks and that visitors are warned if such conditions exist.
  2. Licensees – these are social visitors, like when you have friends in your home. These kinds of victims are also owed a duty of reasonable care to fix any dangerous conditions and to warn them if such conditions exist.
  3. Trespassers – a trespasser is any person(s) who are on your property (business or personal) without permission. In most cases, there is no duty of care owed to a trespasser other than refraining from willfully injuring them. There is a special case involving children that is an exception to this rule – luring children on to trespass on a property by placing something enticing and dangerous within their view is known as an “attractive nuisance” and is not protected under this law. Additionally, children under the age of six are not old enough to be considered trespassers because their age prohibits them from being legally negligent.

Based on this information, it is unlikely that an injury such as what was received in the San Antonio Zoo incident would lead to a premises liability lawsuit. This is because it is unlikely that the Zoo would be able to know that the tree presented a risk, even with a thorough inspection. However, it is always necessary to consult legal counsel to be sure, as there may be details and nuances that only professional legal counsel would know about. This blog post is not intended to be a replacement for legal counsel.

Injured on Private Property?

The Law Firm of Carabin Shaw has been representing the injured across San Antonio and the surrounding area for over thirty years. If you have been injured at a business or on private property, contact our law office today for a free case evaluation at 800-862-1260 or fill out this form. We look forward to serving you.


Published on April 18, 2023.

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