If you have been injured in a neglected sidewalk, you are probably wondering who should be liable for your injury and associated damages. Well, liability for sidewalk injury is a complicated affair that can only be unraveled by assessing a number of factors. Answer these questions to help you with the assessment:
What Does Your Local Law Say?
Liabilities for sidewalk injuries are determined by local laws. It used to be that local authorities, the ones responsible for constructing and maintaining sidewalks, would be held liable for negligent injuries occurring on sidewalks. In fact, this is still the case in a few areas depending on what caused the injury. However, in many places, it is the owners of the properties adjacent to the sidewalks who are liable for injuries occurring on the sidewalks. In fact, many jurisdictions are changing their laws to make building owners liable for negligent injuries that might occur on the sidewalks adjacent to their buildings. Therefore, scrutinize your local laws to identify who should receive your injury claim.
Was the Sidewalk Next To A Private or Public Property?
The location of the sidewalk also matters because, in most places, it determines who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. In many places, residential property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks adjacent their properties while the municipal council is responsible for taking care of sidewalks adjacent to public properties or sidewalks on commercial areas. Therefore, you need to find out the owners of the properties next to the sidewalks.
What Exactly Caused the Accident?
Another thing you should know is the exact cause of your sidewalk accident. Was it a pothole, snow accumulation, discarded toys? Or did you slip and fall on a slippery surface after a rainfall? For example, for you to hold a municipality responsible for your injuries, you must prove that it was negligent and its negligent was the reason for your injury. For example, a municipality isn't responsible for drying sidewalks after a rainfall or snowfall so you are out of luck if that was the cause of your injury. Even if you want to hold the owner of the property adjacent to the sidewalk liable for your injuries, you must prove that it knew or should have known of the dangerous conditions and taken the necessary preventive measures.
The best thing to do with complicated legal issues is to consult an attorney. Therefore, consult a personal injury lawyer or law firm like Richard Glazer Law Office to help you with the assessment and pursuit of the injury claim.