- April 30, 2020
- In sidewalk Accident
If you slip and fall on a sidewalk, who is liable for your injuries? Before you can answer this question, you need to first identify who owns the sidewalk. Legal responsibility hinges on the status of the sidewalk in question, local laws and the availability of certain defenses.
Sidewalks can be either owned privately or by a public entity. Most sidewalks are publicly owned by a government entity. These sidewalks are normally pedestrian paths that separate private property from the adjacent public streets. Private sidewalks generally serve a similar purpose but are located on private property. Examples of private sidewalks are walkways located in private apartment complexes.
Private Owner v. Government Liability for Sidewalk Accidents
Either property owners or local municipalities can be liable for injuries sustained on public sidewalks depending upon the local law. In some areas, the sidewalk is not considered private property and as such, the homeowner cannot be held legally liable for the resulting injuries suffered on the sidewalk.
In other cases, such as a slip and fall on ice, the private homeowner may be held liable because they are responsible for removing the snow and ice. The specific facts surrounding the particular injury coupled with the specifics of local law are key in determining who may be liable for a resulting slip and fall on an unreasonably dangerous section of the sidewalk.
In some jurisdictions, the local law assigns the local municipalities with the responsibility to maintain sidewalks. In these jurisdictions, if you are injured on a dangerous sidewalk, you will have to directly file a claim against the city for any resulting injuries.
Time and Notice Deadlines for Claims on Public Sidewalks
If you are injured in a slip and fall on a public sidewalk, it is important that you are aware of two important limitations in suing the local municipality that owns it. First, government entities have strict notice requirements and time deadlines for filing a personal injury claim. In some cases, you have only six months from the date of injury to file your claim. Second, some government entities have a limit on how much you can recover from the municipality if you win.
As such, it is important that you immediately consult with an experienced slip and fall attorney, who specifically handles sidewalk injury claims. If you fail to timely file your claim with the responsible government entity, you will be forever barred from filing your claim and seeking compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident on a reasonably dangerous sidewalk, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. The skillful attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates specialize in all types of personal injury accidents and have successfully attained service and results that go beyond expectations. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of the attorneys, please call 949-727-9300.