What can I do if my foot was severely injured in a parking lot on a broken garden stake?

UPDATED: Nov 22, 2014

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What can I do if my foot was severely injured in a parking lot on a broken garden stake?

About 9 months ago I was running through a parking lot to grab my wallet. On my way back to the store, I hopped across a tree partition within the parking lot and my left foot landed right on a broken garden stake that was invisible to me. It went straight through my left foot, resulting in a serious foot injury that kept me off my feet. It was the absolute most painful thing that has ever occurred. It is 8 months after the injury and I’m having shooting pains, and nerve problems in that left foot that I’ve never had before. Now that the injury has partially healed and passed what legal action can I take?

Asked on November 22, 2014 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can try to sue the property owner (or whomever would be responsible for maintenance in the area where you hurt yourself) but you are, based on what you write, unlikely to win:

1) You "hopped across a tree partition"--that is, you were in an area you should not have been. A property owner owes a duty of "reasonable," but not absolute or total, care to  persons on his property. That includes keeping safe areas where they could be expected to go--but does not obligate the property owner to make safe areas where a person should not walk.

2) Furthermore, the property owner only has to correct dangerous conditions of which he is or reasonably should be aware. There is no reason to think the owner would or should be aware of an "invisible" broken stake. If the owner didn't know of the hazard, he is not liable for it.

3) You were running through a parking lot, or being careless. If you were rushing without looking at where you were stepping, that means that it was your carelessness which caused or contributed to the injury. The property owner is not liable for your carelessness.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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