Sidewalk accidents may occur on walkways on privately owned properties, in which case the owner of the property is responsible for maintaining them in a safe condition, or on public sidewalks.
Who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk?
If a person slips, trips, or falls on a public sidewalk because of an unsafe condition, who is responsible? Although most sidewalks are constructed by municipalities, in many cases the owner of the property adjoining the sidewalk may bear some of the responsibility. The reason is that many dangerous conditions that can cause sidewalk falls originate on the property that borders it. When owners allow roots of trees on their property to grow under the sidewalk pavement, they can cause it to lift or crack. In that case, it is the property owner who is responsible for fixing the problem before someone is hurt. Property owners often create slippery sidewalk conditions that can cause falls by allowing their watering systems to spray water on the walkway.
In some circumstances, the responsibility is shared by the municipality and the property owner.
The joint responsibility for maintaining public sidewalks in safe condition and posting warnings of unsafe conditions can create an uncertainty as to whom to sue when you’ve been injured and make a claim to recover damages.
What are common defenses claimed by the property owner or municipality?
The owner of the property or the owner’s insurance company will try to avoid paying on a claim for damages in any accident. Some typical defenses raised in sidewalk fall accidents are
- The victim was not using reasonable care to avoid an open and obvious hazard.
- The defect in the sidewalk was so minimal that it would not have caused an ordinary person to fall.
- The injuries claimed could not have been caused by the type of fall the victim described
- The condition pre-existed the fall and was not caused by it.
Sidewalk accidents pose challenges and complications that make it essential to hire an attorney with specific experience in sidewalk accident injuries. Your attorney will need to take photos of the scene, identify property owners, gather witness statements, and obtain medical records and employment records to document the extent of your injuries and losses.
Kinds of injuries caused by sidewalk falls
Sidewalk falls can cause serious injuries and sometimes even death. These are some of the more serious injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Disc herniations
- Knee injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a sidewalk accident because of someone’s negligence, call the Phoenix, Arizona, sidewalk accident attorneys at Wattel and York for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your fall case. We help the injured to get a fair shake when facing the large insurance companies, corporate owners, or government entities who want to avoid their responsibility to compensate you for your losses from your accident. We are proud to be the voice of justice for the individual. Remember, it costs you nothing to hire us to represent you, and you pay nothing unless we win you a monetary settlement.