Sidewalks are designed to keep pedestrians safely off the road but what happens when sidewalks lead to accidents themselves? If you have slipped and fallen on a broken sidewalk, then you may be able to sue for damages. Keep reading to discover who may be responsible and then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.
The owner of the sidewalk is responsible for its upkeep
In the State of California, the owner of a sidewalk is responsible for ensuring it is in good condition. However, there are very few sidewalks that are privately owned or even leased by a person or business. Instead, most sidewalks are owned by and the responsibility of the city or county government. There are different rules in place for required maintenance and care if the sidewalk is owned by a government agency.
Showing that a municipality was negligent
If the sidewalk was in poor repair and this led to your accident, then you must be able to prove it in order to seek compensation. Your attorney must show that the sidewalk was in unreasonably poor condition that made it unsafe, that city or county either knew about it or should have known about it, and that they did not take any steps to keep the sidewalk safe.
Property owners may play a part
While municipalities often have the duty to ensure that sidewalks are safe to be used by pedestrians, in some cases a property owner (whether a business owner or homeowner) will be responsible for the condition of the sidewalks right in front of their property. It is up to your personal injury attorney to determine the at-fault party.
For example, if the sidewalk is uneven or broken because a tree has grown under it, then the owner of the sidewalk is not responsible for fixing it – the owner of the tree is.
Other factors that can affect your case
While the above requirements to prove your case are straightforward, there are some situations that can vary. If the unevenness was very slight, which generally means less than an inch, then the court may refer to it as a “trivial defect” and not believe that it was the reasonable to expect it to be repaired.
You will also want to keep the shoes you were wearing at the time you fell and do not wear them again. They may be required as evidence that you were wearing appropriate footwear to navigate the sidewalk and that your shoes did not play a part in your fall.
If you have slipped and fallen then you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. You can reach The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation today.