Visitor Question

Tripped and was injured by basketball hoops placed on city street…

Submitted By: Kim (Fresno, CA)

I was flying a small kite on the street where I live, in the middle of the subdivision so traffic is not heavy.

When there is no traffic I attempted to get the kite in the air, requiring me to walk with my back to the wind.

I stayed to the edge of the street which I can monitor by keeping track of the sidewalk.

While doing this I backed into the neighbor’s basketball hoop, which caused me to fall real hard on its base. Right away my left wrist & hand started swelling up and had severe pain. My shoulders and arms also hurt, but my wrist was the worst.

I went to a walk-in urgent care center and got x-rays, but they did not accept my heath insurance. I was treated with a splint for my broken wrist and referred an orthopedic surgeon on Monday.

After playing phone tag for 3 days, I found out the Orthopedic surgeon did not accept my insurance. I called my health care provider who gave me names of orthopedic surgeons for my plan, and I’m working on an appointment now.

The hoop is in violation of our city ordinance, but city code enforcers drive by them without addressing the issue.

Can I go after both parties (city and neighbor) for my medical bills and maybe pain and suffering? How would I go about it? I’d prefer not to go that route and instead work things out amicably, since I like my neighbors, but the medical bills will be large. Thank you for any information you can provide.

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.


Dear Kim,


Presuming the basketball hoop was on the sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s house, and that the hoop belonged to the neighbor, you may have a viable personal injury claim. Your injury claim will be based on the legal doctrine of negligence.

To support your claim of evidence you may rely on proof of the violation of Code Section 621-8400. Photographs of the basketball hoop in the prohibited sidewalk area will also be strong evidence in support of your claim.

Contact the homeowner and ask the homeowner to submit an injury claim under his or her homeowners insurance.

If the homeowner refuses to do so, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit against him or her, or you can seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney in your area. Most injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation.

A claim against the City of Fresno will be very difficult. The City is protected by the legal doctrine of Sovereign Immunity. Sovereign immunity means a governmental agency is immune from claims and lawsuits.

There is an exception if you can prove they were grossly negligent. That is unlikely. Or the City can agree to be liable and pay for your medical bills, wt. That is also unlikely as the City will contend they were not negligent. If you plan to pursue the city, you should definitely consult 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: June 15, 2017

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