As a general rule, businesses and other property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe. However, sidewalks are unique because it isn’t always up to a property owner to maintain their sidewalk; sometimes it’s the local government’s duty.
Regardless, if you’ve been injured in a sidewalk accident, you may be entitled to compensation, and Silva Injury Law, Inc. can help. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our seasoned premises liability attorneys have extensive experience bringing sidewalk fall injury cases to settlement or suit. With our help, you can effectively pursue a claim against the party responsible for your injuries.
Causes of Sidewalk Falls
Most sidewalk fall accidents are caused, at least in some part, by dangerous conditions. While pedestrians should pay attention to where they are going, some hazards are not obvious. Some of the most common causes of sidewalk falls include:
- Raised pavement caused by roots pushing up portions of the sidewalk,
- Large cracks in the sidewalk caused by water that freezes and then expands,
- Crumbling curbs,
- Unmarked hazards, and
- Sunken areas of the sidewalk caused by soil erosion.
Of course, there are many other potential causes of a sidewalk accident. Regardless of the nature of the hazard that caused your fall, the injury lawyers at Silva Injury Law, Inc. can help you determine whether you have a case against the property owner or the local government.
Sidewalk Falls Liability: Can You Sue if You Fall on a Sidewalk?
Depending on where the accident occurred, the duty to safely maintain a sidewalk rests either with the owner of the property or the local government. Under California law, the local government generally owns the sidewalk adjacent to private property. However, under California Streets and Highways Code section 5610, those whose property abuts a sidewalk “shall maintain any sidewalk in such condition that the sidewalk will not endanger persons or property.” Thus, liability in a sidewalk accident case depends on the nature of the defect and whether it was in the property owner’s control. In either case, the party responsible for a sidewalk’s maintenance can be held financially responsible for injuries resulting from a poorly maintained sidewalk.
Proving the Liability of the Responsible Party
Bringing a sidewalk fall injury case involves more than merely showing you fell on another person’s property. You must also prove that the person responsible for maintaining the sidewalk was negligent. Under California slip and fall law, this typically requires you to prove that the responsible party knew or should have known that the sidewalk was unsafe and failed to do anything about it. Your legal practitioner may be able to locate complaints filed by others who fell in the same area. This would put the owner on notice that the sidewalk was dangerous.
You must also show that the negligent actions of the party responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk caused your injuries. Some of the most common sidewalk injuries include back injuries, broken bones and fractures, soft tissue damage, head and brain injuries, hip injuries, knee injuries, and nerve damage. If you fall on a poorly maintained sidewalk, it’s important to seek medical care—not only to address your injury but to establish documentation that you were injured.
Finally, it’s important to show that you didn’t contribute substantially to your injury. The responsible party is going to try to blame you for getting injured. So it’s important to have a legal advocate on your side to counter this kind of blame-shifting from the other side.
When Can You Sue for a Sidewalk Injury?
Regardless of who was at fault, it is important you act quickly. You only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit; otherwise, you may miss out on your chance to recover for your injuries. If a governmental entity was negligent in maintaining the sidewalk, you probably have only six months to file a claim. If a non-governmental party was responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk on which you fell, you have two years.
Have You Been Injured After Falling on a Dangerous Sidewalk?
If you or a loved one recently fell due to a poorly maintained sidewalk, reach out to the California injury lawyers at Silva Injury Law, Inc. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. Our attorneys understand the challenges you face as an accident victim, and we make the recovery process as easy on you as possible. We take all sidewalk injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not bill you for our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call Silva Injury Law, Inc. today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.