Can you sue a city for pain and suffering if you waited until after the fall date to report the injury?

About 2 months ago, I was taking my grandson to see a movie. There was a raised piece of metal over the sidewalk, I guess for repairs. There was no other way to get to the theater from that area so I walked towards the metal like everyone else. Even though there was a hazard sign up, they left no other way to walk through. As I was walking I tripped and flew across the cement. Dazed and stunned initially, I could not get up because I hit my head. The security guard and a young man helped me up to sit by a small wall nearby. The man asked me if I wanted an ambulance but I said no because I didn’t know what would happen with my grandson. We have no family here except my son who was out of the state at the time. I could not drive, so I told my grandson to let’s just go into the cool in the theater. After sitting through the movie, I felt that I could get in the car and drive home. I went to bed. I have been in a lot of pain since that day. I have great difficulty lifting my left arm, so I went to my doctor who ordered X-rays and an MRI. Looking back, they should not have had that way open as a walkway. I’m sure someone else has probably gotten hurt. I didn’t know what to do that day and now almost 2 months later I am still hurting. Can I sue the city for being inconsiderate and not closing off the area entirely or do I just have to grin and bear it?

Asked on August 10, 2019 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

In order to sue for a personal injury there must have been an actual injury suffered that was due to the negligence of another. Here, you have an injury but it as not due to another's negligence. However, there was a sign posted; you attest to that. While it would have arguably been better to have several signs, it was still "reasonable" to have just the single notification. Acordingly, you have no claim here.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, there is no claim for pain and suffering--or for medical bills, or compensation of any sort--in the situation you describe. To get compensation, you have to show "negligence" or unreasonable carelessness. A claim of negligence is defeated by the defendant showing it took "reasonable"--not perfect or infallible, just reasonable--steps to prevent injury. You write that "there was a hazard sign up"; putting a sign up to warn people of the hazard is a reasonable response, and so they were not negligent.


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