The Teaneck Patch recently reported the story of a 42-year-old woman who fell 20 feet down an embankment along Route 4. The apparently was no guard rail in place. The woman had apparently run out of gas and was walking to a nearby gas station in Hackensack. She was injured and eventually rescued by Teaneck emergency responders, who cut away fencing around the bottom of the hill and went down to get the woman. She was then taken to Hackensack University Medical Center.
Accidents can happen anywhere. If you are injured as a result of a dangerous condition on private property such as a store you can sue the owner or possessor of the property. However, who is responsible when an accident occurs in a public place?
The answer will depend on who is responsible to maintain the area where the accident occurred. The city, state, townships and even the federal government are each responsible to maintain different public places and roads in New Jersey. Therefore, there are often different entities responsible for accidents occurring on highways, roadways, sidewalks, parks, municipal parking lots, and government buildings. It is often a complicated process to determine the correct entity to sue.
Once the correct defendant is determined, there may be special rules because the defendant is a governmental entity. There may be a shorter time period to file a claim and a specific locale in which the lawsuit must be brought. To succeed in a lawsuit arising from an injury in a public place, it must be proven that the accident was caused as a result of negligence by the responsible governmental authority.
If you had a slip and fall or other type of accident in a public place, a personal injury attorney can help you with litigating against the city or other responsible municipality.