Our office recovered $47,500 for a woman injured walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery.
Our client, a 50 year old woman injured walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery visiting her loved one, stepped into a hole at the cemetery and injured her right foot. The general rule is the owner of cemetery has a duty to exercise reasonable care to see that the premises are safe for their use, namely, walking. This duty includes the responsibility to discover defects and dangerous conditions on the property. This duty also includes the obligation to correct the defects or to give sufficient warning of the defects.
There are however exceptions to the responsibility of the cemetery owner to correct defects, such as holes in the ground. Specifically, the cemetery does not have to warn of dangers that are “open and obvious.” This means that if while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery the hole in the ground was clearly visible, (i.e. “open and obvious”), then the cemetery will argue that it was not responsible for the resulting injury.
As with all legal doctrines, there are exceptions to the general rule and then exceptions to the exceptions. And so, there is an exception to the rule of no liability for “open and obvious” conditions. Specifically, the cemetery will still be held liable for injuries sustained while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery even though the hole was open and obvious if it was foreseeable that the visitor’s attention would be distracted and that the visitor would not discover the dangerous condition. Naturally, reasonable people will disagree as to what is “open and obvious” as well as to whether a reasonable person would be “distracted” and fail to appreciate the danger.
If you are injured while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery in the cemetery, the insurance company will almost certainly try to put the blame on you. That is, they will argue that you were not looking where you were going and that the defect was “open and obvious.” If you had been looking where you were going, you would have seen the defect. Or, they will argue that you in fact did see where you were going and saw the defect but choose to ignore the risk. Since you saw the defect prior to your injury, it is your fault. Either way, the insurance company will try to blame you for your injury.
If you are injured while walking on uneven grounds at the cemetery, there are certain things you should do. First, get the names and addresses of all witnesses to the incident. The property owner or its employees cannot be counted on to be your witness. Second, give notice of the incident and your injury to the cemetery before you leave the grounds. Make sure a written report of the incident is made. It is crucial that the written report identifies exactly what your injury. Obtain a copy of that report. Third, you will need to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries from the incident. With the help of your doctor you should identify all affected areas of your body, regardless of how minor they may seem at the time. Many injuries and side effects don’t manifest themselves fully until days or weeks later and they may be more debilitating than you first assumed. Fourth, get a camera and take pictures of the scene, focusing on what caused your injury. This of course may not be possible in every instance. Finally, call an attorney immediately.
If you need help, call LAW OFFICES OF CHARLES J. GALE, PC. We have the capabilities and know-how to prosecute your claim. Don’t hesitate to call us today. There is no fee unless and until we successfully reach a settlement and there is a recovery. Our consultations are also free and are only a short phone call away. Let us help you; all you have to do is dial (312) 372-0300 now!