Sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. Accidents happen. And when they do, you have the right to compensatory recovery for any injuries sustained.
This is especially true when someone is hurt on property that has not been properly maintained or altered to guarantee the safety of those who are invited onto it.
It doesn’t matter what kind of property the accident occurs on. It may be a parking lot. A construction site. A public swimming pool. A day care center. A mall. A restaurant. A park. Even a corporate campus.
Take the corporate campus example. If you work in an office park and your company invites your family to a Christmas party and snowman-building contest in December, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure the sidewalks are clear of ice.
Perhaps your child brings her bicycle and slides out on a patch of ice. Yes, it was foolish of your child to ride her bike on the ice. But children will be children. They know no better. Adults are expected to be responsible and protect them. In this case, the property owner should have shoveled, sanded or salted the walk before party guests even began to arrive. You may be entitled to damages for your daughter’s injury.
The property owner may or may not be your employer. In office parks, building owners often are corporations, institutional investment houses, real estate investment trusts, pension funds, wealthy private investors, developers or banks.
Safe Kids Worldwide reports that some 200 children aged 14 or younger die in bicycle accidents each year. About 362,000 are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related traumas. And it is estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities could have been prevented with a helmet.
It is recommended that you require your child to wear a helmet at all times. Doing this will help minimize or prevent the injury at the Christmas party from occurring in the first place. Because it’s not about the money, and it is not about getting even. It’s about safeguarding your child at the outset.
Remember, children who ride their bikes on or near public property very often will be passing exposed downspouts, rebar, retaining walls, abutments, and other structures. They will be excited and in a hurry. If they crash into something like a parking block, you may not have a case. It is not the property owner’s “fault” that the block is there. The property owner has invested in a parking lot, and the block needs to be there.
If there was no reasonable way for the property owner to foresee such an accident, or no way to alter a fundamental feature of a physical property in a reasonable way, you may not have a case, even if your child has taken a terrible tumble.
We recommend that you take your children to one of the bike safety education programs sponsored in the area. These programs offer bicycle helmets for discounted prices.
When it comes to bicycle safety, your child’s self defense and sense of self preservation is the best defense. It is only when the property owner fails to reasonably foresee and remedy conditions of danger that you will have a strong case in court.
If that happens, photograph the scene of the accident and complete an accident report with the police. Then call an experienced personal injury lawyer.