Sept 2012 was walking dog in neighborhood park, I tripped over an elevated section of sidewalk. No broken bones, only bruised and scraped knee. Did not seek immediate medical attention as no pain. Started experiencing problem bending leg back and few weeks later sought medical care. Given exercises, subsequently referred to PT. PT mailed me exercises. Leg improved . Took pictures of clothing from scrape, elevated sidewalk and scrape on knee. Called city to report hazard, they spray painted but have not repaired. I did file a claim (March 2013) to notify city of injury as a precaution within 6 month requirement, and have until August to "sue" them. Is there any minimum I can claim for the injury? I have Kaiser; therefore out of pocket was minimal.
The proper question to be asked is never "what is the minimum I can claim for the injury"; it is "what is the maximum recovery I can obtain as fair compensation for the injuries, etc., I suffered due to the accident". It is impossible to answer that question on AVVO because it requires a detailed analysis of photographs, medical records, and details of the accident to come to an opinion, which no laywer on AVVO has access to. It can be said with a reasonable degree of certainty, however, that like insurance companies, Municipalities virtually never treat claimants representing themselves fairly with regard to the settlement or disposition of a claim, as compared to what they do when an attorney is involved. Retain a lawyer before negotiating with the municipality, and before you say or do something which will hurt your claim.
You are entitled to recover for all harms caused by the fall. This includes medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. So the damages you seek will take into account all of the harms, not just your Kaiser bills. I would suggest consulting with a personal injury attorney that handles premises liability cases involving public property for further advice on your case.
You should not be trying to handle this yourself as you will in all likelihood never receive close to fair value with the City, if they are indeed the proper party. There is no minimum claim amount that can be reasonably given to you. Do yourself a favor and immediately consult with an experienced local personal injury attorney.
My honest feeling is you need to consult an attorney immediately. The City will likely never offer you anything close to a fair amount in hopes that the statute of limitations will expire. At this point, from a pragmatic perspective, you may have difficulty getting a suit filed in time if you do not start the process with an attorney now.
Christopher J. Gansen
Gansen Law Group
11111 Santa Monica Bl., Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (424) 201.5625
Fax: (310) 744.0111
I agree with others who suggest you consult a local personal injury attorney to discuss. While your damages may not be extensive, there is the likelihood of some recovery here. For now, you may want to go the accident site and take clear photos of area and raised sidewalk from numerous angles and levels.
Of the many undeserved statutory protections enjoyed by governmental entities is a short statute of limitations meaning one has only a short time to bring suit or it is subject to being thrown right outa court... other protections include specialized immunities for actions that would put a private entity into settlement mode from day one.
None-the-less, anyone who feels he or she has a case should consult with lawyer... it's why we exist!
Fortunately, most of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take such cases on contingency no matter where the case is in California, so there is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
4160 Temescal Canyon Road, Suite 306
Corona, CA 92833
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law and does so anywhere in the State of California.
The short answer is, you can sue the property owner and/or the City responsible for the streets and sidewalks. Depending on the City's municipal codes, they may have either assumed the responsibility for the sidewalk or pushed it onto the homeowner. Now that you have protected the governmental claims statute, you need to consult a lawyer to determine whether to sue the property owner, the City or both. A lot depends on whether it was tree roots, soil subsidence or failure to maintain.
Set up a consultation with a lawyer and provide them with all of your photographs, the claim form you submitted and all of your medical information.
There is no set 'minimum' for a claim against a governmental entity. It sounds like your claim is probably worth more that the $25,000 jurisdictional limit for Superior Court, assuming you can prove liability, injuries and damages. So, you will file in unlimited (no cap) and proceed from there.
Remember, the City has 45 days to respond to your claim form. If they reject or ignore, the clock starts to run on your time to file a lawsuit against the City. You should consult a lawyer soon.
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