Visitor Question

Injured while at a public City Council board meeting…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Arizona)

I am 11 weeks out after undergoing a major shoulder surgery and was smacked on my injured shoulder, causing the sutures to come out and effectively undoing the surgery.

I serve on a City board, and at the conclusion of the hearing a women, whom I know and happened to be the officer who’s decision that we overturned came up and said, “thanks for overturning my decision” and smacked my shoulder. I do not believe she intended to injure me, and the slap was innocent and in a friendly context.

That said, I may need a corrective surgery that will undo 11 weeks of excellent recovery, put me in an immobilizer for 12 weeks, and potentially result in a permanent loss of

full functionality in the affected arm.

I was active prior to my surgery and was on a path to recover and be able to live a full life again, and now that may all end. The incident happened in City Council Chambers.

Do I have the right to sue if the injury is confirmed? Would I file suit against the woman or the City (since it happened in Council Chambers)? I do not wish to go down the road to litigation, but why should I suffer so much over something that I could not control? Is there anything I can do? Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You stated, “I do not believe she intended to injure me, and the slap was innocent and in a friendly context.”

However, it’s hard to believe that as a result of an innocent slap you may need

“…corrective surgery that will undo 11 weeks of excellent recovery, put me in an immobilizer for 12 weeks, and potentially result in a permanent loss of full functionality in the affected arm.”

If your shoulder was that sensitive you would have not been able to wear a seat belt, accept a hug, or engage in other forms of physical contact. You don’t state your arm was in a sling, you didn’t have padding or protective clothing, nor had you taken any other action to protect yourself.

It is very unlikely the city will waive their sovereign immunity and agree to pay you compensation for an exacerbation or your prior injury.

If you decide to sue the officer you will have to hope she has sufficient assets for you to levy upon in the very unlikely event a court will rule in your favor.

Finally, to have any chance of succeeding in an injury claim against the city or the officer will require written medical evidence from your doctor confirming the innocent slap was the direct and proximate cause of your exacerbated injuries. Because liability is so tenuous in this case, you really need to speak with an attorney.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 25, 2016

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