I'm going to give you the short answer. Please get an attorney, and also please note that you must give the municipality notice pursuant to the NJ Tort Claims Act to recover any money. That notice has to be given within 90 days. It is not enough that the town knows about the incident, but that you filled out official forms. Please consult with an attorney ASAP so you can get the maximum amount of compensation that your daughter is entitled to.
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My best recommendation is to speak with a personal injury attorney who offers A free 30 minute consultation, such as myself. If there was a defect, you may need an engineer to confirm it, and you will definetely need a doctor and an attorney to get you maximum compensation for the injury suffered.
The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.
Please consult with personal injury lawyers immediately. Title 59 and the Tort Claims Act make this issue time-sensitive. You should not delay. Good luck.
IMPORTANT: Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during an attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private attorney-client consultation. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, an attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on Avvo.com are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual. For persons located in New Jersey: To the extent that Mr. Murray's profile can be considered an advertisement in New Jersey, which is denied, be advised that NO ASPECT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY. Furthermore, the selection methodology for the SuperLawyers' "Rising Stars" awards is set forth at length at this website: http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html.
I concur that you should consult with an attorney before making any deals with the insurance company. If you do end up suing the town, you may need to file a Tort Claims Notice. Also, there are statute of limitations to consider. You should consult with an attorney as soon as you can to make sure all of your daughter's rights are protected.
Mashel Law, LLC - The information provided here is only general information and may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. This information is not intended to constitute nor should it be considered legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.
The assessment of value is a complicated undertaking, even more so under a Title 59 Tort claims case (one in which the defendant is a town). I am concerned that you are approaching the 90 day deadline for filing the Tort Claims notice form, (which is a separate form and filing from a lawsuit) based on your statement that your daughter has already healed a fracture, gone through therapy, and still no complete improvement.
In addition to the Title 59 issues, since this involves a minor, you need to explore how the settlement proceeds will be given to your daughter (with options like a structured settlement vs. simply depositing the money in the local surrogate’s account until she turns 18);
You also need to get Court approval for any settlement since it involves a minor, and will need to attend and prepare for a court appearance called a Friendly Hearing, even if you settle the case without filing suit, and without a lawyer.
At that court appearance the Judge will make an assessment as to whether or not the settlement is appropriate, so if you “asked too little”, the Judge will not approve it. Even if the settlement is for the right amount, the Judge will likely want to see that you made inquiry in to various structured settlements proposals.
In short, take advantage of the free consults offered by virtually every personal injury attorney, before you go any further.
Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.
New Jersey Personal Injury - Public Park Hazardous Condition - Damages - by Patrick Amoresano: No experienced personal injury attorney is going to recommend a settlement figure. Your child has a serious personally injur claim which MUST be filed with the Superior Court for its review and approval of a settlement based on the opinions of medical experts and the testimony of witnesses. There is no way you can fulfill your parental obligations in this situation without hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. How old is your child? Did she injure her dominant hand? What did the doctor give as the reason for the permanent nature of her disfigurement and disability? I have more questions but this is really something that calls for a telephone consultation.
I am sorry to hear about your daughter's injuries. First of all, do you have a lawyer? If so, you should discuss your concerns with that person. Secondly, I am assuming that a 90 day Notice of Claim was filed with the public municipality where this incident occurred. If not, you may be out of luck in getting any kind of settlement. A question as you pose can never easily be answered with first reviewing all of the medical records, treatment notes, etc., together with an accounting of out of pocket medical costs. You should go over these issues with your attorney. If not, you should immediately consult with an attorney prior to entering into any settlement.
Please note that by attempting to answer your question, I am not acting as your attorney. I will do nothing further to protect or preserve your interests in the absence of any additional discussion with you about this matter. Jeffrey E. Grabelle, Esq. Starr, Gern, Davison & Rubin, P.C. 105 Eisenhower Parkway Roseland, NJ 07068 Office: (973) 403-9200; Fax: (973) 226-0031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree with most of the answers provided by the other attorneys. You must contact an experienced lawyer and you should not settle the case on your own. You must have the case set up for litigation but as stated a Notice of Claim has to be filed with the proper public entities that own and maintain the park within the time allowed by the Title 59 statute. Normally, for an adult, that time period is 90 days from the date of the injury. However, it may be extended for your child, if a Notice has not been sent yet, because your child (which sounds like a minor less than 18 years), has an extended Notice of Claim and Statute of limitations date. In law it is called being "tolled". However, an attorney must tell you this after getting all the facts. There are too many traps for the unwary. Therefore, you need an attorney as soon as possible, do not delay so time will not pass to damage any potential claim. There could be another claim against other non public entities as well but again an attorney should review this and advise you further. As far as value, no one can or should go near that question unless all facts are known and the claim thoroughly understood. As with the other lawyers, these are suggestions and not legal advice since all we know is what you told us so far.
Make sure to file a TCA notice within 90 days of the incident pursuant to Title 59. As your daughter is a minor, you may be afforded extra time but not if she has medical expenses that are your responsibility. Ultimately if it is a public entity responsible for the injury by their negligence, your daughter may have to prove that they knew about the hazard and that she has a permanent loss of bodily function. I would strongly recommend getting an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
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