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What Happens if I Get Injured at Central Park?

Posted in Premises Liability on June 10, 2024

What Happens if I Get Injured at Central Park?

Central Park is a lovely oasis in the urban jungle of  New York City. Once you suffer an injury there, however, it stops being fun. Indeed, it might even turn deadly. Although it’s possible to file a personal injury lawsuit, unusual restrictions apply, and the legal basis of compensation is surprisingly complex.

Claims vs. Lawsuits

Most personal injury claims end in a private settlement. A claim is different from a lawsuit, however. A claim is a legal abstraction, meaning you can have a personal injury claim against someone and not even know it.

A lawsuit, by contrast, is a legal procedure. The key to understanding the difference is that although most claims never become lawsuits, all lawsuits start out as claims.

Premises Liability Claims

Premises liability arises when a property owner fails to comply with the demands of their duty of care towards people who enter the property. This could allow someone injured by a dangerous condition on the property to sue the owner.

Duties of a Property Owner

A property owner who accepts guests on their property must:

  • Inspect and maintain the property to repair any dangerous conditions they discover;
  • Warn of any dangers that they cannot immediately remedy; and
  • Prevent foreseeable crimes.

However, not everyone is owed this duty of care – such as trespassers.

Respondeat Superior and Vicarious Liability

Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, you can sue an employer if the misconduct of their employee injured you, if the employee’s misconduct occurred in furtherance of their work duties.

This doctrine allows you to sue the park owner/manager for the misconduct of an employee.

Ownership and Management of Central Park

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation owns Central Park as an arm of the New York state government. It has delegated park management duties to a private company, the Central Park Conservancy, making Central Park a public/private cooperative venture.

If you suffered an injury in Central Park, you might be able to sue one or both of these parties.

Filing a Claim/Lawsuit Against the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Since the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC DPR) is a government entity, you would have to comply with certain special rules that apply to filing a personal injury lawsuit against the government:

  • File a Notice of Claim with the New York City Comptroller’s Office within 90 days of your injury. This notice informs the city of your intent to sue and includes details about the accident, injuries, and damages. The city will investigate your claim.
  • If the city denies your claim (including denial by the issuance of a counteroffer) or fails to respond to your Notice of Claim within a ‘reasonable time,’ you can file a lawsuit. You generally have one year and 90 days from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit.

You cannot seek punitive damages in a lawsuit against New York City.

Filing a Claim/Lawsuit Against the Central Park Conservancy

Since the Central Park Conservancy is not a government entity, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them without complying with the special procedures listed above.

If you were, for example, mugged in Central Park, you might sue the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) for negligent security. Your claim would be that the CPC failed in its duty to keep you safe. You might also sue for, say, a slip and fall accident if you slipped on ice that the city failed to remove within a reasonable time.

The CPC’s liability would depend largely on the division of responsibility between the CPC and the NYC DPR under the terms of their mutual park management agreement. If these terms let the CPC off the hook (not their contractual responsibility), you could probably sue New York City on the same claim.

Damages You Can Get

In a personal injury claim, you could seek:

There are no upper limits on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you can seek. You can claim as much money as you can justify with appropriate evidence.

Contact Our Premises Liability Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City premises liability lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800


Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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