The Ohio Supreme Court recently made a significant decision regarding pool injury lawsuits in the state. Although state law bars civil lawsuits against local governments, the Court found that the law does not apply to public, city-owned swimming pools.
Reports indicate that a young boy broke his knee back in 2006 while diving off the diving board at the Cuyahogs Falls Natatorium swimming pool. The indoor pool and recreation center is owed by the city and regulated by city officials.
The boy’s family sued the city, alleging that the city neglected to properly maintain the diving board, which ultimately caused the boy’s knee injury. Our swimming pool injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn against negligence in maintaining buildings, parks and other public utilities. This can result in serious bodily harm and even death to users.
The city tried to claim that it was immune from civil liability,under the state’s sovereign immunity statute that grants immunity for injuries that occur at certain municipally-owned properties.
However, the Court ruled that the indoor city swimming pool is within a building that is used to perform a government function. Thus, the city cannot invoke sovereign immunity as a defense because the property is an exception to the general immunity rule.
The case will now go back to the lower court, so that the boy’s family can have an opportunity to prove that the city negligently maintained the diving board and this proximately caused the boy’s knee injury.
Whether government or private property, the negligence of the premises can lead to serious accidents. Government employees entrusted with the care of a public building or private property owners and caretakers have the duty to maintain a safe environment on the premises. People should be free from hazards when walking on or using the grounds or premises of office buildings, parks, hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities, shopping centers and apartment complexes.
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The New York Times recently reported the aggressive way in which city government’s attempt to fight back. When an elderly woman in Brooklyn was killed by falling branches at a bus stop on Avenue J, the city tried to limit damages by claiming that she did not suffer and was killed instantly. The city expects pedestrians and others to be aware of the risks of the trees in the area and claimed that the woman at fault for her own death because she did not use reasonable safety devices.
However, the jury rejected the city’s claims and awarded the victim’s family close to $3 million, with approximately $350,000 for pain and suffering. At least 6,400 cases are filed against the city of New York every year, ranging from slip and fall lawsuits to negligence claims for fatalities.
Lawsuits involving pool injuries and other injuries caused by the negligence of city governments can be difficult and require the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.