Posted by Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Nick Alcock:

A Peoria couple is asking for nearly $200,000 from the city for their son’s injuries at a recently opened park. The claim seeks $165,000 for pain, suffering, anguish and disfigurement, among others, and $31,509.12 to cover medical costs.

The notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, was filed this spring by an attorney representing Jeanette Dubreil, a Republican candidate for state representative from Legislative District 22, and her husband. The claim is on behalf of their 11-year-old son who was allegedly injured when he fell into a metal pipe while playing at Palo Verde Park, near 73rd Drive and Briles Road in north Peoria. The incident occurred in January, when Dubreil’s son was playing tag at the park with friends. He fell into the pipe and suffered cuts to his legs, particularly deep at 12 to 15 centimeters in the right leg. He underwent surgery at a nearby hospital and has experienced “extreme pain and suffering,” the claim states, adding that he is expected to “suffer permanent injury, impairment or disfigurement as a result of this incident.”

The city has since forwarded the claim to the contractor as such claims are the construction company’s responsibility. A representative for the contractor, Valley Rain Construction Corp., said the insurance company is looking into the claim although he denied negligence. The city had contracted with the Tempe-based construction company to build a foot bridge over a gorge on the western edge of the park. The steel pipe was about 10 feet long and 6 feet in diameter with razor sharp edges was left unattended and unsecured.

The claim notice states that the construction was done during Christmas break, when the city would have known that children would be playing in the area, but that neither the city nor its contractor took steps to warn the park’s users of or safeguard the bridge construction site. The claim notes the city should have realized that placing a pipe involved an unreasonable risk of serious injury, amputation or even death to park users.

Andre Merrett, an attorney representing the Dubreils, said that besides deep scars, which would be permanent unless possibly removed with additional surgery, it’s reasonable to expect he will have “ongoing, permanent impairment.” Merrett said he believes the site was not made secure until after the accident occurred.

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