ORLANDO, Fla. – A well-known Orlando attorney said Thursday that he has been retained by a family who claims a snake bit their 8-year-old son at Disney's Animal Kingdom, causing the boy's great-grandmother to go into cardiac arrest, which caused her death.
Matt Morgan said the incident occurred in October 2014 at the Walt Disney World theme park.
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"If we can prove that there is negligence on the part of Disney for allowing this snake to be on its premises and that negligence was the proximate cause and legal cause of the grandmothers death, that is a more significant claim," Morgan said in a news conference Friday.
Morgan said he will file a formal lawsuit against Disney for the injuries sustained by the boy and the wrongful death of the woman.
According to Morgan, the family, who in from Alabama, claims that the snake escaped at the park and entered an area reserved for the general public. The family said the snake fell from a tree and bit the boy, according to Morgan.
Disney confirmed to News 6 that the boy was bitten by a snake at the park, but a spokesperson said it was a wild, nonvenoumous snake, not part of the the park's collection.
Disney said the boy was treated by a park nurse, who put a Band-Aid on his finger, and the family went back into the park to enjoy the rest of their day.
The family said the boy's great-grandmother witnessed the incident, and she immediatelty started suffering breathing problems.
Morgan says the woman, who was in her late 80s or early 90s and in a wheelchair, was taken to the hospital a day later. He says she died two days after the boy was bitten.
"It is our position that the event of the snake falling on this young boy and the grandmother witnessing this event was the proximate cause of her death," Morgan said.
Disney did not address the woman's death, but a park representative said, "These allegations are an utter mischaracterization of the facts."
A spokeswoman told News 6 on Friday their park has pest control experts who make sure nothing like this happens.
Morgan said he will investigate the incident through the court system, and he would like to know if it's happened to other families before.