Accidents on sidewalks happen. It can be a simple trip over cracked concrete, or a slip on a slippery surface. Referred to as slip and fall accidents, you can either come out of it unscathed, or severely injured. Before we go to who is liable for your accident, it is important to remember that accidents do happen – even when the sidewalk is in a perfect condition during your fall.
Factors that Affect Liability in a Sidewalk Injury Incident Depending on the circumstances of your fall and local state and municipal laws, the homeowner or the city may be liable for your personal injury. However, if you have been texting while walking, then you will only have yourself to blame.
There are two categories of sidewalks: public and private. Public sidewalks separate private properties from adjacent public streets. They are the most common type of sidewalks. Private sidewalks also serve the same role, but are located within the private property.
What to Do in a Slip and Fall Accident?
The key to proving someone’s liability in a slip and fall accident is to prove that there was negligence. As with any accidents, take pictures of the accident scene, any injuries or bruises that resulted from the fall, your clothes, and other critical details, such as the crack in the pavement where you tripped. Documenting the accident scene is crucial in proving your claim.
The homeowner or the city might fix said crack in the following days. If you slipped on ice, then the sidewalk condition can change quickly over a few hours, even minutes.
Who is Responsible for Sidewalk Maintenance?
It varies from city to city. In some cities, the regular maintenance and upkeep of sidewalks is the duty of the local government. The local authorities are responsible for clearing the snow and ice, as well as for sidewalk repair and for keeping it clean and litter free.
In some cities, however, maintenance of sidewalks, even if they are public property, are the responsibility of the adjacent private homeowners. They should clear the sidewalk in front of their homes from snow, litter, and repair sidewalk cracks and damages.
Who is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
As with maintenance of the sidewalk, this will also vary from city to city. The circumstances and the details surrounding the fall and resulting injury can also affect liability to the accident.
To win a slip and fall case, you must be able to prove that there was negligence, either by the local government or by the private owner. You must be able to prove that the liable person or entity was aware that the sidewalk was in an unsafe condition, but did nothing to remedy it. A history of complaints received by the city or municipality on the condition of the sidewalk can greatly help. Ask a lawyer to help you retrieve this vital information.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been in a slip and fall accident and you want to hold someone liable for the injuries that resulted from your accident, hire a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will evaluate your case, and will help determine who is liable for your fall.
Note that filing claims against local government entities can also be tricky, especially with the different deadlines on filing claims or lawsuits. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is the best person who can help you understand your legal options, rights, and even your obligations. Book a confidential appointment today!
Written by Carson and Coil, the leading personal injury attorney in Jefferson City, MO.