There are two considerations to this question’s answer. The first is whether the mere fact that an injury occurred in a park is enough to make the park responsible to the victim. The second is whether the town is the responsible party for the park.
As to part one, parks are places of recreation, and people who participate in recreational activities often sustain injuries through no one’s fault but simply due to the inherent risks of the activity. The park is not responsible for pulled hamstrings, sprained ankles, or bloody noses that occur in the normal course of a flag football game or ultimate Frisbee match. Nor is the park responsible when the user of a barbecue pit sprays lighter fluid onto a lit fire and winds up burning himself or when parents leave small children unsupervised, and they hurt themselves on park equipment meant for older, bigger kids.
The park is only responsible when poor construction or maintenance of its facilities produces hidden hazards that cause preventable harm: if the chain on a swing breaks under the weight of a child, if playground equipment is shoddy or not up to safety standards, if bricks in steps are loose and give way, or if drains are left uncovered so people can step into them. A park could also be at fault if, following a fierce storm, no one checked the structural integrity of trees, and a loose branch fell, injuring a visitor. Finally, under certain circumstances, where authorities have been negligent about curtailing illegal activity in a park, victims of crimes might also be able to sue.
But whom should a victim sue? The mere fact that a park is located in a town does not make the town the proper defendant for a lawsuit. New Jersey has national parks and recreation areas, state parks, county parks, and municipal parks. In each case, a different government entity is responsible for construction and maintenance. The National Park Service is the responsible entity for the portion of the Appalachian Trail that cuts through the Garden State as well as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and other attractions. The NJ Environmental Protection Agency Division of Parks and Forestry has jurisdiction over State Parks, forests, recreation areas, and marinas. Each county has a Department of Parks and municipalities generally have Parks Divisions in their Departments of Public Works.
It is vitally important to the success of your lawsuit to attach the proper defendant in your action. In a normal lawsuit against a private citizen or corporation, you have two years to file suit, so if you made a mistake identifying the proper defendant, you’d have time to make a correction. But when you sue a public entity, you must file a notice of action prior to the lawsuit, usually within 60 to 90 days. If you miss that deadline, you might lose your right to any compensation.
Premises liability accidents often make for complex legal cases, especially when accidents occur on government-owned property. If you’ve been injured in a park accident in Bergen County or anywhere in New Jersey, Seigel Law is ready to help. Contact us online or call 201.444.4000 today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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By Teresa R Perez - January, 2018
I have had a great experience thus far. The personal injury process is stressful and they have been helpful and courteous in getting me the right referrals. I was injured while visiting NJ and live in another state, my case is not an easy one but they are working diligently to help. I appreciate the personalized attention and highly recommend this firm.Read More
By Miriam Smith-Leone - December, 2017
The law office was great with my back and neck injury. They directed me to the right doctors and got me a huge settlement. Being a single mom, it help pay off all my debt and bills. Me and my kids can have a bill free christmas, with plenty of food and happiness, stress free. They are the best ever and I would highly recommend them to anyone rich or poor, who has been in an accident and need legal help...Read More
By L C - October, 2017
After the misfortune of suffering an injury, I had the good fortune to choose Seigel Law to represent me. During my initial meeting with Jan Seigel, I found him to be extremely confident and reassuring---he totally put me at ease. I was represented by Mark Mc Bratney---an EXCELLENT attorney. He was supportive and professional through the entire process, and provided an excellent outcome for my case.Read More
By Liliana Paredes - October, 2017
Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward. In unvarnished truth Jonas Siegel will tell you exactly where you stand and what direction you should go. Jonas has tenacity coupled with a degree of tenderness, but never losing site of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his clients. I defenetly recoment this law firm. Thanks for helping me out in my case.Read More
By Oren Goldshmidt - September, 2017
I'd like to thank everyone at segal law for the amazing experience they provided me. From the moment I stepped in to the end of the case , segal and his team delivered exactly what they promised. I couldn't have received any better treatment from a law firm. Any concerns, questions or problems I had were addressed and dealt with accordingly...Read More
"The lawyers at Seigel Law know how to get you the results you want. Jan Seigel and His team returned every one of my phone calls, listened to me and worked with me to a desirable outcome. Seigel Law definitely goes above and beyond to protect the injured." - B.M.
"After my car accident, my life turned into a disaster. Dealing with everything became impossible. Jan Seigel and his people helped me with every aspect of my injuries and the insurance companies so I could focus on healing. They helped me through everything and they got me what I was due." - M.P.
"I found the personnel to be very efficient, and work very quickly. I'm happy that I was referred to this firm, because I found that I was very comfortable working with them." - F.V.
"Amazing. I have to say they were very supportive and were able to give me tons of information. I didn't feel rushed and felt they truly cared about my well-being. Their website is also extremely helpful and well setup." - T.D.