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Can I sue an Indian casino hotel for a minor injury due to negligence on their part?

Buford, GA |

I was taking a shower with extremely little water pressure(received a comp voucher for $25 for the water pressure only) and the metal soap dish fell off the wall onto my foot. Paramedic was called and I refused to go to the hospital. He took photographs. Large knot on top of my right foot. Painful then, but now it won't go down even though the pain has subsided. I have not sought medical advice yet because of the expense. This took place at the hotel at Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina.

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Attorney answers 1


Interesting question. Let me give you the practical answer first. Why? You have no significant injuries and have not even sought medical attention. I just see a significant enough injury, at this point, to even consider filing a lawsuit.

The other issue, to which I really don't exactlyknow the answer, is how you would go about suing for an injury at such a casino. The reason that you have casinos on reservations is because Native Americans Nations are considered, legally, "foreign soil" and the United States (not the individual states) have "treaties" with this separate nations that would define your rights.

The first question, then, is who operates the casino. If it is a "domestic" corporation (as opposed to the Indian Nation operating itself), you can sue the corporation pretty much where it has an operating office. If the Nation operates it, you'd have to sue in Federal Court (or in the Cherokee Nation Tribal Courts) and you'd have to be concerned about any Treaties with the Cherokee Nation and how that might impact your right to sue.

Regardless of where you sue, it is possible (again, depending on what the treaties say) that the law that applies would be the law of the Cherokee Nation. That is unlikely, but still a possibility, as oppose to the laws of North Carolina. So, if you really, really want a better answer, you will need to find an attorney who practices in North Carolina and you would also want to find one familiar with Tribal issues/law.

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