5 Myths About Injuries In Public Places You Probably Still Believe
When it comes to going out in public, a lot of people still think weird things about getting injured. Some people think getting injured anywhere means you can “sue ’till you own them.” Others think once you step out of your front door, you’re on your own.
Our book Accidents Happen: But Who’s Going To Pay The Bills? clears up some of the myths about injuries in public, like these:
5. MYTH: A Cheap Shot Or Low-Blow When Playing Sports Means You Can Sue
When you lace up and play pickup hockey or take the field for your company’s softball game, you are assuming a certain amount of risk. The law actually allows for this risk much more than you think. The yardstick for this is how much or how little this particular injury falls under the umbrella of things you’d expect to happen while playing that sport. If you’re playing football, a concussion or busted finger is something to be expected, and not a result of negligence.
Where the line starts to become a little blurry, is when that injury happened because of something that falls outside the “expected conduct” of that sport. Being checked in a hockey game is one thing, but to get injured on the play because of a faulty glass panel or dasher board can change the case.
4. MYTH: If Your Kid Gets Hurt Playing On An Escalator, That’s On You
In 2013, over 12,000 escalator related injuries and deaths were reported. In fact, escalators kill more people on the average than sharks. While being injured on an escalator can happen, whether or not the operator is negligent can depend on a number of things. Being a “common carrier”, escalator operators are required to take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of riders. But what about a kid playing on the escalator?
Interestingly enough, if the operator has observed this happening in the past — they are required to plan for it. If the escalator’s operator has witnessed kids — even unattended — playing on it, they are required to take preventative steps. Should they decline to take those measures, they could be liable for the injuries.
3. MYTH: Amusement Parks Are Protected From Almost Anything Because You Knew The Risk
You got Hurt on a roller coaster but that’s on you because you knew what you were getting into… right? Wrong. Roller coasters surprisingly also fall under the same “common carrier” category that busses and subways do. This means that as long as the operator does everything they can and takes every precaution possible to protect safety, they’re covered.
On the other hand, if the roller coaster or carnival ride wasn’t maintained properly, or was installed the wrong way — the park is negligent. This happens a lot with traveling carnivals, as they spend so much time in transit. If you get hurt because of something the ride wasn’t supposed to do — the park could be liable.
2. MYTH: If You’re Jaywalking, You’re Fair Game
Let’s be honest here — don’t jaywalk. Seriously. If you can help it, cross streets at the marked crosswalks. It’s just what you do. However, that does not mean that jaywalkers have a bullseye and “500 PTS” on their shirt. If you happen to be jaywalking, it might be inconsiderate but it’s not a reason for someone to mow you down. That’s not how it works. You’re really just not supposed to hit people with your car. Common sense.
The law states that drivers have to exercise care and caution not to hit people crossing the street. That means in marked or unmarked crosswalks. A jaywalker injured after being hit by a car has the same rights as any other pedestrian, and can sue the driver.
1. MYTH: A Dog Has To Be “Vicious” For The Owner To Be Liable For Bites
It’s important to realize that when it comes to the law, there isn’t much of a difference between dog breeds. A pit bull bite is the same as a lhasa apso bite as far as the courts are concerned. Not only that, but it doesn’t matter where it happens — The owner is liable for their dog.
Dog owners must take every precaution they can to prevent bites and attacks. This even applies if the dog is “the sweetest dog ever” and has “never bitten anyone in his/her life.” Even on the owner’s property, they are liable. Unless an adult was being a jerk to the dog in some way — like yanking the its tail or annoying it — there’s little to no defense for the owner.
All of these types of injuries and more are discussed in our book ‘Accidents Happen: But Who’s Going To Pay The Bills?’. Ask for your free copy here.