While walking on a sidewalk in a sweet little town on vacation, you glance up to see the lovely scenery and trip and fall over a large crack, getting severely injured in the process. What happens next? Do you pay for your hospital bills and go home and lick your wounds or is there a way to avoid suffering extreme financial hardship?
Sidewalk fall cases are not as straightforward as most people may think. The complexity of determining what entity may be liable for the sidewalk means that a victim needs to find an experienced personal injury lawyer that specializes in sidewalk accidents to successfully handle the case.
Determining factors in sidewalk fall cases:
There are certain pertinent factors that determine which course your case will take when you sustain injury as a result of tripping on a sidewalk.
- Who is in charge of the sidewalk maintenance? If your fall occurs on privately-owned property, then the property owner may be held liable. But if the fall occurs on a sidewalk under the supervision of the local government, an appropriate governmental body may be held liable. Most governmental bodies have very limited liability in personal injury or wrongful death cases, but an experienced personal injury attorney can determine whether other resources are available.
- Cause of the fall. This plays a prominent role in determining the course of the case. If your fall was due to the negligence of the property owner, then you may have a very good case. A property owner is considered negligent in this instance if the fall was caused by uneven, broken or missing slabs, sidewalks with holes, slippery substances spilling onto the sidewalk, inadequate lighting, or dangerous equipment or objects left on the sidewalk. If, however, you were looking at your phone or were otherwise distracted when you tripped on the sidewalk, it will be difficult to prove that your fall was caused by someone else’s negligence.
To prove that a property owner (private or public) is responsible for your fall:
- You must establish the cause of the fall;
- Prove that what caused your fall was unreasonably dangerous;
- Prove that the cause of the fall was the fault of the property owner; and
- Establish that the property owner was either aware of that fault or should have been aware of it.
Hire a highly experienced and skilled slip and fall lawyer.
Your lawyer must be well versed in handling sidewalk fall cases adeptly. This skill comes with consistent and successful handling of such cases over time.
Battling a local government in a sidewalk case is more complex than that of one involving private owners because of administrative issues. Many lawyers shy away from handling such cases. Hire a lawyer that knows and understands the tricks involved in handling insurance companies that are out for their own financial benefit.
Tripping and falling on a sidewalk can result in serious injuries. Your sidewalk lawyer can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve. This can go a long way in helping you take care of your medical bills and other expenses.
If you fall on a sidewalk, seek medical attention right away and when you are able, take pictures of the scene or have someone do it for you. Then be sure to seek prompt medical attention and hire an expert personal injury lawyer.