Who is Responsible When a Broken or Uneven Sidewalk Causes Injury?
Sidewalks can provide safety to pedestrians, bicyclists, and children. Because they redirect slower road users to a place that is all their own, sidewalks can also reduce congestion on busy city streets. What happens, though, when the sidewalk starts to deteriorate? Who is liable if someone falls and is injured on a broken, uneven, or damaged sidewalk? Learn more about sidewalks, their liability, and your legal rights with help from the following.
Property Owners Hold Liability in Most Places
In most instances, property owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of an adjacent public sidewalk. Any failure to do so could also make them liable if an injury or death occurs. Keep in mind, however, that many property owners are not aware of their liability. Furthermore, there are exceptions to this rule – especially in California, where public outcry has led to extensive sidewalk issues and confusion about who is truly responsible for them.
Certain Cities May Be Liable for Sidewalk Injuries
Because the public outcry was so massive, and because certain cities managed to obtain funding for sidewalk repair, there are certain cities in the state of California that maintain responsibility for the repair and maintenance of sidewalks. That also makes them liable when injuries or deaths occur on improperly or poorly maintained sidewalks. Unfortunately, pursuing such a case can be extremely difficult. Municipalities are often harder to sue, and they often have complex notification and filing requirements.
Sidewalks Belonging to Businesses and Retail Stores
Sidewalks outside of businesses and retail stores are typically considered a part of the property, which makes the business owner responsible for their maintenance and upkeep and liable if an injury or death occurs. One should also be aware that icy, slippery, or debris-cluttered sidewalks may also open an opportunity for a suit if someone is injured or killed on a sidewalk belonging to a business or retail store owner.
Pursuing Compensation for a Sidewalk Death or Injury
Even though sidewalk injury cases may vary greatly in complexity, depending on who is liable for the maintenance and upkeep, the process for victims is often the same. First, victims are encouraged to photograph the sidewalk immediately after the injury. Second, they are encouraged to seek medical treatment, even if they believe they are injury-free. Lastly, victims can increase their chances of a full and fair settlement by ensuring they have legal assistance throughout the entire claims process.
Louis J. Willett, Attorney at Law, is the firm to call with your sidewalk injury case. Backed by more than 30 years of legal and litigation experience, our Fremont premises liability attorney is committed to helping you get the settlement you deserve. No matter what the situation, we will aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome in your case. Get started by scheduling a free initial consultation. Call our offices at 510-791-2244 today.