Parks are wonderful places to have a family BBQ, picnic or even just to let the kids roam around and play. However, injuries can occur in parks. Whether it is from a child drowning in the lake, a tree limb falling onto someone or someone tripping and falling over poorly maintained grounds. So, if you suffer an injury while in a park, how do you go about suing the appropriate and responsible party? Read on to learn more.
How to Sue if the Park is Privately Owned
If you are on private land and are injured, the owner of the land could be held liable for the injuries suffered due to premises liability law. Landowners have the responsibility of maintaining their property, which includes ensuring that it does not consist of dangerous conditions that could harm the people on the property. When you entered onto this privately owned land, you were one of three types of people:
Invitee – If you paid a fee to enter onto the land, such as a private park or country club, then the owner is responsible for ensuring that the property is safe.
Licensee – If you are a social guest, then the owner of the land will still likely have a duty to maintain premises so that there are no dangerous conditions present.
Trespasser – If you entered into a private park without permission and without paying the required fee, then the owner of the land probably won't be able to be held liable for your injuries. However, there are still instances in which landowners can be held responsible, such as if the landowner was aware or should have been aware that there were frequent trespassers on the property.
How to Sue if the Park Is Publicly Owned
If you are in a public park and you suffer an injury, you will likely need to move forward with a lawsuit against a government entity. There will be a few things that need to be considered in these instances, including:
Immunity – Unless a particular procedure is followed, government entities may be immune to lawsuits. For example, if you were injured in a federal park and wish to sue for compensation, then you will need to follow the rules outlined in the Federal Tort Claims Act. For example, New York has waived its immunity, so as long as you – the victim – follow the guidelines that the state has set forth, a legal claim can move forward with ease.
Notice – Under most circumstances, you need to file a notice of a claim before you actually sue the government. This varies from state to state, so it is important that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the injury to determine the deadlines set forth by your state. For example, in New York, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the injury.
State Approval – Some cities must have approval from the state before injury claims can be paid to victims. For example, in Florida, under Torts Negligence 768.28 (5), the amount paid out for tort claims by the city is not to exceed $200,000 to $300,000, depending on the circumstances. Anything above this amount must be sent to the state Legislature for approval.
Suing the government can be a tricky situation. In fact, suing anyone can be difficult if you don't know the laws of the land. For that reason, you will want to contact a personal injury attorney (such as one from Fitzsimmons & Vervaecke Law Firm) to discuss your park injuries and the circumstances in which they occurred to see how you should best move forward. The important thing here is to know that if you've been in injured in a park, you can sue the owner and attempt to recover financial damages.Share