You can slip or trip over and fall just about anywhere and it is no surprise that slip and fall accidents are more common than any other category of accident except those that happen on our highways.
While slip and fall accidents are not generally as fatal as traffic accidents, they can still lead to expensive and time consuming medical treatment and recovery.
The cost of medical bills and loss in wages or salary can be crippling and especially frustrating if the accident was caused by negligence on the part of someone you think was responsible.
How Slip-and-Fall Accidents Can Occur in a Public Park
Parks are designed for people to relax in and enjoy themselves, but they are also potentially hazardous. The terrain and facilities in public parks vary tremendously from small, manicured city parks to state forests and national parks with their miles of trails, campgrounds and other visitor facilities.
Governments everywhere have often cut back on maintenance programs and do not always maintain their parks as well as they should.
This means that accidents are more likely to happen today than a decade ago.
Seeking Compensation in a Slip-and-Fall in a Public Park
In most slip and fall situations where a private property owner is responsible for creating a hazard or failing to remove or repair it, there is a possibility of claiming compensation for the cost of your injuries if you have an accident.
However, public property, whether it is a park, building, sidewalk or road is different if the property is owned or managed by a city authority, state or federal government agency.
Government agencies impose strict deadlines on making a claim against them for negligence, sometimes as little as 30 days after an accident happened.
They may also impose a cap on the amount that can be claimed, in some cases as little as $100,000. This may seem a lot, but if you have suffered crippling spinal injuries and need life-long care and support, it might fall well short of what is needed.
Establishing Fault is Vital In a Slip-and-Fall Case
In many ways, claiming compensation in a slip and fall accident is harder than for a car accident. This is because the onus of proving who was at fault lies with the injured victim.
Not only is it necessary to prove that the property owner, in this case the city, state or federal agency that operates the park, was responsible for the hazard that caused the accident, it must be shown that they were aware of the hazard and either did nothing about it or failed to provide adequate warning about it.
A typical example would be where a park bridge over a stream was rotten and you put your foot through a rotten board and broke your leg.
Did the park authorities know about the rotten bridge? Did they attempt to repair it or prevent members of the pubic using it or at least provide sufficient warning of the danger?
If the answer is yes to the first and no to the second, there may be a case for a claim for compensation.
How A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Trying to claim compensation from a park authority by yourself is difficult. Bearing in mind the potential burden of dealing with a serious injury for you and your family, it makes sense to hire a personal injury attorney to help prepare and file a claim for compensation.
The sooner you do this the better as you have such little time before any claim becomes barred. An experienced attorney will be able to assess your accident and injuries as well as the potential success of a claim against the park authority.
He or she can:
- Prepare evidence
- Summon potential witnesses for depositions
- Demand relevant information from anyone who was involved
- Suggest a suitable figure to claim based on the extent of your injuries