In any type of personal injury case, you must present several things in order to achieve a successful outcome and obtain the damages award you need. One of these items is proof that the person or entity that you sued had a legal duty toward you. When it comes to a duty, it is important to understand how such a duty can arise. Some people always have certain duties toward others, in accordance with established law. Other times, a person or entity can develop a duty based upon the actions they took. In many situations, an entity maybe liable not so much because they started out owing the plaintiff a duty but because once they undertook an action, they became legally duty-bound to do that act in a non-negligent manner (but failed to do so). If you have been injured and think it was the result of someone else’s negligence, be sure to consult an experienced California injury attorney.
As an example of how this can work and how an injured person can achieve a valuable result, there’s the case of E.Z., which was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. E.Z. was a 36-year-old woman taking her two daughters out for a walk one August day in 2016. The trio headed to San Francisco’s North Beach district and, specifically, to the playground at the historic Washington Square Park. The large park offers many benefits to guests, but unfortunately offered peril to this mom. As she and the children walked, a 50-foot pine tree shed a 100-pound branch. The branch fell several feet before crashing into E.Z. The mother suffered a fractured skull and a severed spinal cord. The severe injuries she suffered resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down, the Chronicle reported.
In E.Z.’s case, she asserted that the city and county were negligent in the pruning and maintenance of the park’s trees. Specifically, she asserted that the method of pruning the city and county used tended to lead to “large, weakly attached branches” growing back, according to the report. She had evidence that there were problems with similar large falling branches in 2008. In 2010, an assessment concluded that the parks department only took action after reports from the public, and never engaged in pro-active maintenance. All that, along with E.Z.’s other evidence, was enough to build a viable case of negligence against the city and county.