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Park Safety: The Hidden Dangers of Public Spaces and Your Legal Rights

Posted by Elizabeth A. Hernandez, Esq. | Apr 27, 2024 | 0 Comments

Picture a serene afternoon in Southern California—a perfect day for families to unwind at the local park. Children laugh and play on the swings and slides, while parents find solace on shaded benches, basking in the warmth of the sun. It's a scene of tranquility and joy, until tragedy shatters the peace.

In 2019, a routine outing turned into a nightmare for one family in Los Angeles. As a 9-year-old girl sat serenely on a park bench, enjoying the cool shade of a towering tree, disaster struck. Without warning, a massive branch—long, heavy, and weathered—suddenly snapped, crashing down with frightening force. The impact was devastating, leaving the young girl unconscious and severely injured, her innocent afternoon shattered by a split-second of negligence.

For the family, the horror of that day was just the beginning of a long and painful journey—one marked by medical treatments, rehabilitation, and a quest for justice. With the help of Dordick Law Corporation, they embarked on a legal battle against the City of Los Angeles, holding accountable those responsible for the grievous lapse in safety.

Their lawsuit, rooted in Government Code section 835 regarding Dangerous Condition on Public Property, highlighted a disturbing pattern of neglect within Seoul International Park. Despite clear signs of decay and warnings from concerned citizens, the city failed to address the hazardous condition of the tree—a failure that had catastrophic consequences.

Investigations revealed a troubling history of neglect, with records showing repeated complaints about the deteriorating state of the tree. Work logs from the City of Los Angeles painted a damning picture of negligence, with maintenance tasks repeatedly postponed or overlooked. Expert arborists confirmed that the branch in question had been cracked, discolored, and more than 50% broken for over a year prior to the incident—a clear indication of systemic neglect and disregard for public safety.

But amid the darkness, there was a glimmer of hope. Through tireless advocacy and unwavering determination, Dordick Law Corporation secured a $10 million settlement for the family—a measure of justice that would help support the young girl's ongoing care and recovery. While the scars of that fateful day may never fully fade, the settlement serves as a beacon of light, offering financial support and a sense of closure for the family.

This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of park safety and the consequences of negligence. As we cherish the beauty of our surroundings, let us remain vigilant and steadfast in our commitment to protecting public spaces for future generations.

If you or a loved one have been affected by a similar incident, know that legal recourse is available. For personalized legal support in personal injury matters across Southern California, including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Riverside, San Diego, and beyond, reach out to Dordick Law Corporation at (310) 551-0949 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Hernandez, Esq.

Associate Attorney | Elizabeth Hernandez


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