Liability for injury at a ball park?

by A
(Nebraska)

My 5 year old son was with me and our family waiting for my older son's baseball practice to wrap up. My 5 year old found his way to a utility trailer which is always parked nearby the concession stand. He got on the trailer and the side entry gate collapsed on top of him, causing a broken leg.

Can I pursue legal action for liability against anyone in this situation? How would I go about filing a claim? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability for injury at a ball park?":

A (Nebraska):

While you may have the basis of an injury claim against the owner of the utility trailer, the owner will likely defend himself and claim that you, on behalf of your 5 year old son, were contributorily negligent in allowing your son to wander off onto the utility trailer.

Their claim of contributory negligence, referred to as an "affirmative defense," will be that a five year old child should not have been be left to wander away from his parent's care. The trailer owner will likely take the position that if you had been properly watching your son, he wouldn't have wandered off onto the utility trailer.

However, the affirmative defense is just that...a defense. You still have a right to pursue a negligence claim on behalf of your son. Your claim can contend the utility trailer owner was negligent in not keeping the trailer out of harms way of children, who likely would have been in attendance at a baseball game.

Because of the seriousness of the injury, your son and you would be best served by seeking the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation.

If though, you are intent on representing yourself on behalf of your son, you will need to send the trailer owner a certified letter advising him or her of the injury and your intention to seek compensation on behalf of your son. Hopefully, upon receipt of your letter the trailer owner will turn the letter over to his or her insurance company.

If that occurs, you should hear from an insurance company claims adjuster within thirty days. Presuming the insurance company will admit their insured was negligent, and that's unlikely, the insurance adjuster will ask you for copies of your son's medical bills and receipts for related expenses. From there, the adjuster will decide whether to pay, and if so, how much.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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