I Fell at a Park. Can I Sue?

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. When they happen in a park, recourse depends on the facts of the case, and the type of park.

If you slipped and fell in a New Port Richey area park because of dangerous conditions such as uneven pavement or holes in a parking lot or path, speak to a lawyer with experience in these types of claims. Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 853-6275 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Privately Owned Theme Parks

Owners of private businesses, including theme parks like Tarpon Springs Splash Park and Aquarium or Monster Mini Golf Richey, or even nearby Busch Gardens Tampa, are responsible for keeping their properties safe for invited visitors. Injured parties may hold the owner liable for damages if the owner:

  • Knows, or by reasonable care would discover, the dangerous condition and realize it posed a risk for invited visitors
  • Should expect visitors would not discover or realize the danger, and would not protect themselves from it
  • Fails to protect visitors from the danger

In cases of uneven pavement or holes in the path that the owner should know of, the owner has a duty to protect visitors by placing warning signs, fencing off dangers, and ensuring prompt maintenance and repairs. An owner who has failed in this duty of care may prove negligent and liable for the damages that result.

Under Florida law, slip and fall accidents are subject to a statute of limitations—victims must file any claim within four years of the injury. Florida also has a pure comparative negligence rule. This gives owners and their insurance companies an incentive to shift blame for the accident back to the victim to avoid paying full damages. Promptly hire an attorney to protect you from these issues and ensure you recover your just compensation.

State Parks, Municipal Parks, and National Forests

Victims can sue governments for negligence and damages caused by unsafe conditions on public property, like Anclote Key Preserve State Park. However, bringing a claim against the government can prove more complex than bringing a claim against a private owner because sovereign immunity generally protects governments from lawsuits.

Congress created an exception to sovereign immunity with the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Under the FTCA, victims can file negligence tort claims against federal government agencies and their employees. Federal “employees” do not include independent contractors; victims must file such claims under the laws of the state where the incident occurred.

Most states have also passed a version of the FTCA. Florida’s waiver of immunity against tort claims allows people to sue state agencies or employees for personal injuries in some circumstances. Such claims must show negligence or a wrongful act or omission that caused the injury, that monetary compensation can redress the injury, and the circumstances are such that the employee or agency would bear liability if a private citizen or business bore responsibility for the injury. Florida’s law caps the amount of money that any one person can recover at $200,000.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim Against the Government

To sue a government agency or employee, the injured individual must first file an administrative claim with the relevant agency. This claim should include the claimant’s full name, date of birth, address, Social Security number, and details about the accident, including the date, the facts, and the resulting damages. The victim must file the claim within two years of when the injury occurred.

Federal agencies have six months to respond to a claim. In Florida, state agencies have 30 days to respond. If the agency denies the claim, the victim must file a lawsuit within six months of the agency’s denial. If the agency has not responded within six months of the filed claim, a person may either choose to continue waiting for the response or proceed with a lawsuit.

Victims must file lawsuits against federal agencies or employees in the appropriate court. Damages in the lawsuit cannot exceed those listed in the initial administrative claim.

Injured parties should always hire an attorney to handle these complicated tasks.

How to Help Your Case

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at either a privately owned theme park or at a publicly owned park or forest, you can help your case by:

  • Taking photos of the conditions that caused your accident. If possible, take photos at the time of the accident, or as soon as possible after it occurred, to record the conditions exactly as they were when you sustained your injury. Also take photos of the surrounding area and note whether warning signs were present and visible. If possible, take photos of your own visible injuries.
  • Reporting the accident immediately to a park employee or official. Insist on filing a written report, and keep a copy of it. Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident.
  • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible, even if you are initially uncertain if you were injured. The full extent of slip and fall injuries may not manifest until hours or even days after the accident.
  • Talking to a lawyer. Slip and fall case cases can grow quite complex and hard to manage alone. This is particularly true if you have to file a claim against a government entity. A lawyer with experience in these cases will follow the necessary procedures and meet critical litigation deadlines. A lawyer will also know how to prepare evidence, depose witnesses, obtain information from the relevant parties, and help the client calculate the full cost of the injuries.

Call the Dolman Law Group if You Were Injured at a Park

The lawyers at Dolman Law Group have experience with slip and fall accidents in parks, and know how to pursue claims against state and federal governments. If you were injured while visiting a park near New Port Richey, let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you. Don’t let Florida’s statute of limitations prevent you from the opportunity to make your claim. Contact Dolman Law Group as soon as possible at (727) 853-6275 or online.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652