What to do if I was hurt on an Army base after hours at a Christmas party?

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What to do if I was hurt on an Army base after hours at a Christmas party?

I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and stepped over a curb thinking it was grass and fell into a ditch about 4.5 ft down. It resulted in an acute Jones fracture and I’m having surgery next week.There was essentially no lights except those coming from the building inside. They immediately put cones up after I fell. It was a family function and it could’ve been any of the 30 children attending.

Asked on January 16, 2014 under Personal Injury, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

First, be aware that it is unlikely that the Army would be liable: for them to be liable, it would have to have been "unreasonably careless" (negligent) to have not had lights in that location, and since landlords, property owners, etc. are not required to light up every sq. foot of their property--rather, typically stairs, walkways, and other places where people are expected to step--there's a good chance that they were not liable.

Second, even if they were liable, if you were also careless, such as stepping without looking at where you were going, or stepping into a dark area that is off the normal foot traffic patters, your carelessness would essentially offset their liability.

Third, the fact that children "could" have been hurt is irrelevant: the law deals with actual injuries, not possible ones.

Fourth, there are typically special rules to comply with for suing the government, which rules shorten your time to do so and also add some cost and complexity.

Overall, while you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney in detail about the case to confirm, there is a good chance you do not have a viable case.


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