Who is Liable for Sidewalk Injuries?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Sidewalks are notoriously common areas for slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries to occur. Like any high-traffic area, it’s important for sidewalks to be well-maintained. In the winter, this might mean shoveling snow and de-icing the pavement. In other conditions, it may be necessary to file potholes and fix cracked pavement to prevent passersby from tripping.
The trouble with injuries that occur due to unsafe sidewalks can often be identifying the party to be held responsible. Depending on your state, the liable party in a sidewalk injury case may be the local government, property owner of the area through which the sidewalk runs, or both. If you or a loved one were injured due to unsafe conditions on a sidewalk, reach out to a premises liability attorney in your area to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.
When a city or local government is responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk, they may be liable.
As a general rule, whoever is responsible for the basic maintenance of the sidewalk will be considered liable. In the case of many public sidewalks, this is a municipality such as a city or town government. However, it’s important to remember that certain rules apply when this is the case. Deadlines for reporting the incident and filing a claim tend to be much shorter when filing against a municipality, so it’s important to talk to an attorney in the area who will be familiar with these deadlines and can help you file accordingly. Additionally, the amount of monetary compensation a municipality can offer in an injury claim may be limited more than that of a property owner.
When a property owner is responsible for the upkeep of a sidewalk, they may be considered liable if an injury occurs.
Property owners are responsible for providing reasonably safe conditions to anyone passing through or residing on their property. For business owners, this generally means they owe a duty of care to employees, customers, and visitors, including those who make use of a sidewalk owned by their establishment. Property owners can help mitigate their liability in sidewalk accidents by checking on the status of the sidewalk and making any corrections as necessary and immediately. Waiting to fix a broken sidewalk or other dangerous condition on the premises will likely only add to the allegations of negligence on the part of the injured party.
Sidewalk injuries can be serious.
There is an unusual misconception surrounding sidewalk injuries that they are not as serious nor as deserving of legal recourse as other injuries. However, sidewalk injuries can be serious and often results in broken bones and even head injuries. For heavily trafficked sidewalks and those near busy roadways, the risk to passersby increases significantly. If you or a loved one were injured by dangerous conditions on any premises, sidewalk or otherwise, you may have a valid and viable claim against the negligent party to help pay for damages including medical bills, lost wages, and more.
To learn more about sidewalk injury liability or for help filing a claim, reach out to a premises liability attorney as soon as possible.