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Columbia Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Premises Liability > Family Sues Retirement Community After Octogenarian Dies From Alligator Attack

Family Sues Retirement Community After Octogenarian Dies From Alligator Attack


You have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a close family member of yours died in a preventable accident.  You may request compensation from the party that caused the accident or was responsible for preventing it.  The compensation can include the end-of-life medical expenses your family member incurred as a result of the accident, as well as funeral expenses.  The court might also award you non-economic damages to compensate you for the loss of your family member’s companionship.  These rights apply if the victim died an untimely death, but also if the victim lived to an advanced age.  If the cause of death was an accident caused by the defendant’s negligence, and not an age-related illness, then you are entitled to compensation.  A Columbia premises liability lawyer can help you if an elderly family member of yours who was generally in good health died because of unsafe conditions at a retirement community.

Not Every Preventable Death Is an Untimely Death

In the summer of 2022, Nancy Becker was 88 years old and living alone in a waterfront house in a Hilton Head neighborhood open only to residents ages 55 and older.  She spent her days gardening in her backyard, which opened out onto a lagoon.  One day in August, Becker was trimming hedges near the water’s edge when she lost her footing and fell into the lagoon, where an alligator immediately attacked her and killed her.

Neighbors called the police when they saw what they thought was an alligator guarding a human body.  The Department of Natural Resources removed the alligator quickly.  The coroner’s office later examined Becker’s remains and determined that the alligator had severed her limbs during the attack.

Becker’s family filed a lawsuit against the Sun City Hilton Head retirement community, as well as Del Webb, the company that had designed the housing development, alleging premises liability and wrongful death.  They alleged that Del Webb had designed the lagoon and the nearby properties in a way that did not successfully prevent alligators from getting close to humans; if they had done this, Becker would have easily survived after falling into the lagoon, and her injuries would likely have been minor.  They also alleged that at least one employee of Sun City was aware that there was an alligator in the lagoon before the attack.

The Washington Post and other news sources reported on the lawsuit in April 2023, when it was first filed.  No additional news reports have been published about the lawsuit, or about further alligator attacks at Sun City Hilton Head, since then.  Most personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits reach a settlement without going to trial.

Let Us Help You Today

The lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if your family member died in an alligator attack on private property, where alligators had no business being.  Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.



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