Legal Question in Personal Injury in New Jersey

Hello,I have a legal question for you.IF an adult (non-student) were to injure themselves while playing basketball at a court located on a public Elementary School's grounds,which School System/ or Municipality left the court open to public access 24 hours a day/365 days a year,would that injured adult have legal grounds to initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the School System and/or Municipality?And would they have a good chance of winning a settlement,IF they called for an ambulance and were transported from the basketball court to a Doctor,who documented their injury? Thank you

Asked on 4/12/10, 5:24 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Joseph Grassi Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gibson, PC

This would be a very hard suit to win. First of all, the adult might be considered a trespasser. The duty owed by a property owner to one injured on the property owner's land varies according to the relationship between the parties. The lowest form of duty is owed to a trespasser.

The second hurdle is that the property is public property. You can only sue a public school system under certain circumstances. They are protected by sovereign immunity, that is you can't sue the king.

In order to recover you would have to file a tort claims notice within 90 days of the injury, have a permanent injury which will have a serious impact on your life, and will cost more than 3500 dollars in treatment, and the condition which caused your injury must be palpably unreasonable, ie, the public entity has to be guilty of more than mere negligence.

You don't mention what caused your injury. I am assuming therefore that you are under the impression that just because the injury occured at a certain location the property owner will pay you . It doesn't work like that. Under our tort law, only people who maintain unsafe conditions pay. In that way, our tort law encourages people to be safe. It is an important protection.

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Answered on 4/19/10, 9:40 am

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