not sure what my best interests are.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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not sure what my best interests are.

The city is repairing the street in front of my house and there is a lot of loose
gravel on my lawn and along my curb. I was cutting my grass and when I turned
the mower while standing on the curb I slipped and went down hard. I injured my
left hand, my let ankle, twisted my back and tore my shirt. I am wondering what
the city’s obligations are to me.

Asked on June 7, 2017 under Personal Injury, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The city is most likely not liable to you: for them to be liable, you would have to show three things--that they were unreasonably careless in where they left the gravel (which may be difficult--it's reasonable for some loose gravel to be left behind during/after repairs); that the gravel caused your fall; and that you were not yourself careless in standing on the curb, on loose gravel, while turning on your mower (since if an injured person is careless, too, his or her own carelessness can reduce or even elminate what he or she could recover). You need the city to be careless, the gravel to have caused the fall, and you to not be careless to potentailly recover.
Even if the city is liable, it's not clear that a lawsuit is economically worthwhile. You can only recover in a lawsuit the sum of: 1) your out-of-pocket medical costs (costs not paid by insurance); 2) lost wages (if any) due to the injury; 3) for *long-lasting* injuries which cause *significant* disability or life impairment, some amount for "pain and suffering"; and possibly any property (e.g. shirt) damage. But to recover for pain and suffering, you'd need to hire a medical expert (e.g. doctor) to examine you, write a report, and testify, if necessary, at trial, which can run hundreds into the low thousands of dollars, and you can't get that cost  back from the other side; therefore, even if they were liable and you sued and won, if you don't have a major, long-lasting injury or large, out-of-pocket medical costs, you could spend more on the lawsuit than you get back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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