What to Do if I Was Injured in a Public Place?

Dawn Pinnisi

June 18, 2024

Different hazards exist in public places, including debris, potholes, open maintenance holes, and poorly maintained sidewalks. For example, tripping on a crumbling sidewalk can cause an ankle sprain or worse, leading to costly medical bills.

A local government agency may be liable for injuries caused by failing to keep public areas debris-free, maintained, or warn the public about specific hazards.

If you are injured in a public place, there are steps you can take to preserve your right to compensation. Always consult a trusted New Jersey personal injury attorney on ways to pursue compensation from a negligent city authority.

Common Accidents in Public Places

Here are some common accidents in public spaces you should be aware of:

Slip and Fall Accidents

There are numerous slip-and-fall hazards in public spaces, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, cluttered paths, or loose cords and cables. City residents walking along a poorly lit path stand a higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents can occur in various public spaces, including stores, parks, movie theaters, public pools, schools, universities, water parks, and entertainment venues.

Car Accidents

According to NHTSA, 46,027 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2022. Car accidents occur in various public spaces, including highways, freeways, parking lots, residential streets, and rural roads.

Car accidents result in substantial losses, including property damage, vehicle damage, bodily injuries, and fatalities.

Construction Site Accidents

Most construction sites are located in public spaces, exposing workers, property owners, and public members to various hazards.

For instance, a stuck-by accident occurs when flying material, a swinging crane, or a rolling tool hits a member of the public.

Construction site accidents result in various injuries, including burns, broken bones, amputated limbs, rotator cuff tears, and electrocution.

Sports Accidents

Sports participants often sustain injuries because of hazards in playgrounds or public spaces. You could file a lawsuit against a local authority or the management of a sports event for failing to provide a safe environment, which led to the accident.

What Steps Should I Take if I’m Injured?

When injured in a public space, your immediate steps can enhance your chances of holding the liable party to account.

Here are a few steps to take following an accident in a public space:

  • Seek medical attention
  • Gather information from the scene
  • File an incident report to the property owner
  • File a police report
  • Keep track of all expenses related to the accident
  • Notify your insurance provider about the incident
  • Contact an attorney to discuss your legal options

Who’s Liable When Injured in a Public Area?

The liable party for injury-related losses depends on the location and the type of accident. For instance, the following parties may be liable for a member of the public who sustains a struck-by injury at a construction site:

  • Property owner
  • Construction Company
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Manufacturers of faulty equipment or machinery
  • Architects and engineers

Can I Sue the Government?

Yes, it is possible to sue the government for a personal injury claim following an accident that occurred because of a negligent action from the entity or its employee. However, federal and state regulations govern how injured victims can initiate personal injury claims against the government.

Generally speaking, the government is immune to legal action by citizens. However, the New Jersey Tort Claims Act sets out exceptions, including for personal injury caused by negligence on the part of government agencies. There are specific guidelines and deadlines you must follow, so you need representation from an experienced NJ personal injury attorney right away.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Each state has a statute of limitations regulations that govern the window an injured victim has before filing a lawsuit. In New Jersey, a plaintiff has two years to file a lawsuit against the restaurant’s proprietor.

If the claim is against a government employee, however, the injured victim must file a notice of claim within 90 days from the date of occurrence. Act quickly.

Injured in a Public Place? Get in Touch With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury can disrupt your life in many costly ways, and you deserve justice whenever possible. It can be confusing when you don’t know who to hold liable for your injury-related losses, including lost income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

An experienced attorney from Varcadipane & Pinnisi, P.C. can compile evidence to demonstrate the extent of your injury and demand compensation from the liable party. Contact us online or at (201) 588-1500 for a free consultation.

Dawn M. Pinnisi

Dawn M. Pinnisi is a distinguished attorney with a track record of excellence in advocating for victims of injury and negligence. Dawn is a Founding Partner of the Firm, a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and has been awarded by the National Trial Lawyers.

University: J.D. Brooklyn Law School

Bar Number: 33771999

Locations: New Jersey and New York.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partners, Jeffrey W. Varcadipane & Dawn M. Pinnisi, with more than 40 years of combined legal experience as personal injury attorneys.

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