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Can I sue for damages if I'm injured in a park in New Mexico?

While the idea of taking the children to the park to play or planning a get-together at one may seem like an ideal way for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, they're not always the safest places to congregate.

In recent years, there have been some widely publicized news stories where old, large trees have fallen on wedding parties in the midst of a photo session. In other instances, children have drowned around bodies of water, been hurt while playing on improperly maintained playground equipment or have slipped or fallen on poorly landscaped terrain.

When it comes to injuries that occur at privately owned parks, why an injured party was on a piece of land in the first place will greatly impact whether or not the owner can be sued.

An invitee is the label assigned to individuals who have paid their admissions fee to get into the park. There's a perception that the owner of a property promises to ensure the safety of visitors in exchange for them paying an entrance fee to it.

In the case of special visitors, or licensees, to private land, landowners are also responsible for protecting them from harm. The only case in which a landowner is likely not responsible for someone who visits his or her property is if an individual trespassed onto it.

Suing your local, state, or federal government for injuries you suffer at a public park is significantly more difficult than pursuing a public one. In most every case, in order to sue a government entity, it's required for you to first submit a notice of claim. This often has to be submitted within a month of the injury occurring.

Whether your lawsuit is ultimately allowed to be filed or is rejected depends greatly on whether your respective agency's torts claims act was followed. In some jurisdictions, the government agency responsible for the park might be required to first get permission from state legislators before any settlement can be reached and a payout made.

Understanding who to sue and what the circumstances are to do so can be difficult to understand. In learning more about the circumstances surrounding your injury, a Los Lunas, New Mexico, premises liability attorney can advise you who to go after when filing a lawsuit in your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Injured in a park? Here's how to sue," Brett Snider, accessed Jan. 11, 2018

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