• June 24, 2021

Sidewalk Slip and Falls: Who is Responsible?

When it comes to slip and falls on public sidewalks, it’s hard to determine who is liable, if anyone.  In almost every single cases in personal injury, you need negligence. If you’ve got no negligence, then no liability. 

Here, we’ll go over negligence that occurs in slip and fall cases

How to Win 

To win, you must prove that the owner of the property was negligence. Simply just slipping and falling doesn’t mean negligence, and if the sidewalk was in a state where you can slip and fall, that doesn’t automatically mean that the property owners were negligence. 

So what are the factors? First, the area must’ve been in an unsafe condition. 

In order to prove this one though, you need to prove that the property owner did know this, and they didn’t make it safe. 

So Who is Liable? 

When it comes to liability in defective sidewalks, it ultimately depends on the laws of the state, and even the deed of the homeowners. 

In a few states, the law will say that a municipality is liable for this, and in other states, it’s not as clear. 

In states where this is more up to the area, it could be the municipality, the property owner, or in some cases, both parties. 

The Special Rules 

If you’re injured, you need to understand the limitations that injured people can sue in municipality focused state. First, you need to make sure the claim is against the municipality. 

The second is to make sure that you understand that states do place limits on how much one can recover from the municipality or state if there is a winner. 

Time and Notice Deadlines 

When you’re making claims, you need to look at the time and notice deadlines. 

In a few cases, it might be very short, such as about 30 days, to notify the department to let them know where the accident occurred, and in other cases, there may be a shorter deadline for this lawsuit, especially against the towners or cities. 

However, these requirements are all different, and in some areas, the claims might be stopped if sent to the wrong department municipality, even if it’s just down the street or hall. 

You also need to make sure when doing sidewalk cases that if you do make a claim against them  you go for the proper entity.  In some cases, you need to inform a highway department or municipality, especially if it’s a sidewalk that goes over a highway.  That’s because the highway department takes care of these highways, and if you don’t give them the notice of the claim, it will be stopped. 

There are also limits on damages that differ from each state when you’re making these kinds of claims. In some cases, this can be super low, such as even less than $100K.  If you’re not sure how much you can win, do your research. 

Proving Liability 

When proving liability, you first and foremost need to prove that there was a fall here, and documenting the scene. 

That’s because they may fix this the next day.  It’s important to make sure that you also look into complaints the municipality has gotten from the “defective” sidewalks. Remember, it’s not just showing that the sidewalk is a mess, you need to prove that the city or the owner of the property knew about this. If the sidewalk was broken for at least half a year and they got complaints, you have a case. 

Sidewalk liability cases are a bit more involved, but there is a big chance you might win one.

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