Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota Blog
Most Common Ways You Can Be Injured (That Your Town is Responsible For)
People injure themselves just by living their normal lives. The world is full of things that can hurt you. On occasion, these accidents are no one’s fault. These occasions, however, are few and far between. While chance and random chaos are factors in what leads to people being injured or not, often, one party acted in a manner that increased the likelihood of another's injury.
In cases where a town has constructed a scenario that increases the likelihood of injury, you might be eligible for damages owed to compensate for any incurred injuries. In situations like these, what are the most common ways your town could be an intricate set of traps, and what injuries can you incur thanks to your town?
Sidewalks can be some of the most dangerous locations in a town. As trees spread roots underneath the path, blocks can shift and break up alongside the walkway. This can create raised surfaces and partitions that can result in people walking by tripping or catching their feet in cracks, which results in injuries.
Should a raised surface make someone trip, they might slam face-first into the ground. They might bruise their body, break their arm, or, when catching themselves against the floor, injure their hands or wrists. These are very commonly injuries.
While having your feet slip through gaps might result in tripping as well, there is an additional danger present: that the vice-grip you find your foot stuck in might twist and break your ankle or foot. All of this results in you experiencing a painful injury.
In cases like these, the town might be responsible. How successful is the town in drawing attention to the crack? Did they even attempt to draw attention to it? If there are warnings or barriers around the crack, then a reasonable person would know to avoid the crack. If not, however, then the town is responsible for the injury.
Furthermore, does the town have any plans in the works to fix the problem? If not, then the damaged property is a product of negligence on the town’s part, thus are personally responsible for what happens to you.
Public parks are beautiful environments for the eye, with amazing natural wonders and man-made structures. However, there are numerous ways a town can fail to protect its civilians at a park, especially if you live near one.
Trees need to be properly maintained. If a tree or nature makes a park unsafe for a reasonable person, that can result in people being seriously injured. Any injuries you incur as a result of this can fall under the park’s personal range of responsibility. Should an unstable tree end up falling, either during a storm or under its own weight, it can cause injury to people passing by or damage another person’s property. Because the tree is owned by the town and part of public property, then the town’s property ends up being the cause of your personal injury.
Of course, the damage parks can deal is not restricted to trees. Any benches, playground equipment, or public facilities that are left in disrepair can break on use, and that breakage can result in injury. Naturally, if the town is responsible for the equipment’s maintenance, that makes them responsible should it break underneath you.
You may be held partially responsible if a reasonable person would look at the equipment and conclude it is unsafe for use. For example, if the bench has only one leg standing and it is visibly cracked, you might be partially responsible should you sit on the cracked bench and it breaks under you. Additionally, if the town has marked off certain constructs as unsafe and you sit there anyway, then that is entirely on you, not the town, since they tried to warn you.
Accidents with Town Representatives
Car accidents are a common occurrence. Sometimes, vehicles driven by town representatives can collide and cause injuries as a result. When this happens, the matter of who is responsible becomes complicated. If the town employee or representative is driving the vehicle while on the clock, they are working on the town’s time and, thus, the town is responsible. If the employee is not driving the vehicle while working or as a capacity as a town rep or employee, then the individual is responsible.
However, things become more complicated when the question arises if the vehicle is a result of mechanical failure or not. If the town is responsible for maintaining vehicles, the town is also responsible for the resulting injury. If the individual employee is responsible or a third-party mechanic, then they may be deemed responsible for any injuries that occur. This same policy is true for any car driven by a business or organization, such as Uber or Lyft.
However, what also must be considered is how at fault the other party is for the accident. If the civil court determines that you are more at fault for the accident than the town is, then you might owe the town damages for you damaging public property and potentially injuring government employees.
All of these are scenarios in which the town might injure you. Should you find yourself injured by the public representatives of your home, you might feel discouraged to pursue action, that the damages you’re owed might be too far outside your grasp because the people who hurt you just happen to be a sprawling legal body. However, you do not have to fight this battle alone. The attorneys at Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota LLP can help. Please call our offices to schedule a free consultation and hear your options.
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