It is no secret that driveways and sidewalks get damaged during the snowy winter season. The spring season has just started, and many property owners have found their nearby sidewalks shifted and cracked, and driveways laced with potholes. It is very common for people to fall on uneven or broken sidewalks, or to step into a sidewalk pothole they did not think was there. Harsh weather conditions sometimes make ones footing slightly higher than the other which may result in tripping.
Pedestrians have a right to use sidewalks safely. Whether you are taking a leisurely walk, moving from one place to another or walking your puppy around the block one must, check if the sidewalk being used is properly maintained by the owner.
Premises Liability Laws
Property owners are mandated to make public sidewalks adjacent to their property safe by eliminating any potential risk to pedestrians. In most cases, when the harsh weather is a factor, the property owner has an additional responsibility to ensure that the sidewalks are safe for pedestrians.
The city has the responsibility to keep all sidewalks clean and well maintained after harsh weather conditions for the safety of all pedestrians. Normally, the property owner adjacent to the sidewalk and the government are responsible for the maintenance of the broken and uneven sidewalks after harsh weather conditions. Local and federal laws mandate that these owners must repair cracked, uneven, or any impairment on the sidewalk to prevent slip and fall accidents.
If pedestrians trip and fall on sidewalks, they might suffer from back injuries, ankle injuries, broken bones, concussions, head and neck injuries, bruises, or even die in cases where victims incur severe injuries. If you happen to become a victim of such accidents, you must seek medical attention immediately. It is also very important that you take pictures of the accident scene and the injuries caused by the accident. If possible, have a written police report detailing the accident and try to obtain a copy of it later.
Next Steps If You Are Injured
Pedestrians who sustain injuries as a result of a fall on the sidewalks can receive compensation. The victims should preserve the photographs and medical records. These are very vital documents that will be required when negotiating for settlement with the property owner or the insurance company. The victim must always remember that they can only be compensated only if the defendant is found liable for the unsafe sidewalk.
If you ever become a victim, you must seek legal help from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer and someone you can trust. Speaking to a lawyer is always one of the most strategic ways to overcoming the embarrassment and pain caused by a negligent property owner.