Sidewalk Slip and Fall: Who is Liable?

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 1949866If you are injured from slipping on a sidewalk, you may or may not have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Whether you have a case depends on if someone can be held liable. If someone else is determined to be negligent, and their negligence lead to your injury, then they will be liable.

To win a slip and fall case, you have to prove that the owner of the premises was negligent. it is not enough to simply slip and fall on someone’s property. It is also not sufficient to prove that the sidewalk’s poor condition caused you to fall. After you prove the sidewalk was in an unreasonably safe condition, you must also prove that the property owner should have reasonably known their sidewalk was in unsafe condition, meaning that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property.

Determining who is liable in a sidewalk slip and fall accident depends on a few factors, including state laws and sometimes the homeowner’s deed. Some state laws dictate that the municipality is liable for maintaining public sidewalks. In other cases, the municipality and the property owner could both be liable.

If you are injured from a slip and fall accident on a public sidewalk, the state may have a strict statute of limitations, meaning a time limit, for how long after your injury you can sue the municipality. You could have a deadline of as little as 30 days to give notice to the proper city department of the exact location and circumstances of your accident. This can also include a shortened deadline for filing the lawsuit against the city or town.

In addition, some states have very strict regulations that bar your claim if it is sent to the wrong municipal department. It is very important that you send your claim to the correct government entity.For instance, maybe you are injured when tripping on a poorly maintained sidewalk that passes over a state highway, and you give notice to the municipality. If the state holds the state highway department responsible for maintaining roads that pass over highways, the city will not be responsible and may bar your claim for sending it to the wrong entity.

It is also important to note that states usually have a cap on how much monetary compensation you can receive from a state or municipality. Sometimes, limits on damages can be low, well under $100,000.

In any slip and fall case, it is recommended that you take proper records of the details of your incident. This includes pictures of the location of your accident, your clothes, and any bruises or other injuries. Documenting the details of accident as soon as possible is very important for your claim, since the circumstances may change very quickly.

For instance, the city may fix the broken sidewalk the day after your accident. If your accident was caused by snow or ice, the conditions can change in a matter of minutes if the snow or ice melts. Having pictures of the site of your accident can make your case. You may also consider having a lawyer help you gather additional evidence, such as a history of complaints the city has received about that sidewalk.

This would be helpful since you have to prove that the city or property owner had reason to know that the sidewalk was poorly maintained. if you can show that the city had heard complaints about the sidewalk’s condition months prior to your accident, it would strengthen your case a great deal.


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