As you’re walking down the street trying to go about your day, a cracked sidewalk can quickly turn a regular day into a complicated ordeal. While simply slipping or tripping on a sidewalk doesn’t guarantee you have a personal injury case, you may be able to pursue compensation depending on the circumstance of your accident. However, determining liability for a sidewalk slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident is challenging because of the nature of sidewalks. Presumably, sidewalks are the responsibility of the local government since they are public spaces, but that is not the case when the town or city passes an ordinance stating that the property owner is responsible. The answer to liability may depend on where the accident occurred—whether it was in front of private property or along the main street.
Although the local government constructs most sidewalks, in some cases, the property owners of the adjoining sidewalk may also bear some of the responsibility. The reason is that many dangerous conditions that can potentially cause sidewalk slip-and-fall accidents border private property. Also, some local governments pass ordinances requiring the private property owner to maintain the sidewalk, thus avoiding liability for the local town or city.
For instance, private property owners who allow a tree’s roots that begin in their property to grow under the sidewalk payment can be held liable because their tree’s roots caused the crack in the payment. In this instance, the property owner is normally responsible for fixing the issues and taking steps to prevent someone from being hurt by the cracked pavement. Private property owners can also be held liable when they create slippery sidewalk conditions with their watering or drainage systems that cause someone to slip and get injured (such as in icy conditions).
In some circumstances, responsibility can fall on both the local government and the property owner. Joint responsibility comes into play because the local government is responsible for maintaining public sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition as to known problems, and property owners are responsible for posting warnings of known dangerous conditions and for unsafe conditions they create by negligence.
Since there is a lot of complexity and often a need for extensive investigation, it’s beneficial to have a skilled personal injury lawyer at your side. An attorney provides much-needed legal guidance and resources to help investigate the accident, determine the cause of your accident, the parties who may be responsible, and to find evidence to support your claim.
After a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately for diagnosis and treatment. While you may not appear to have any severe injuries, slip-and-fall accidents can often result in internal injuries that don’t show symptoms immediately. However, seeking medical attention can help catch any potential dangers and be incredibly helpful should you want to and be able to pursue a personal injury case. Delay in obtaining a physician’s diagnosis will later result in an issue about possible other causes that may reduce your accident recovery.
You may not know what to do after the fall to support your damages claim and file your claim because of how tricky liability is in these cases and insurance information is often not disclosed voluntarily if you have no lawyer to represent the possibility of a lawsuit if information is concealed. Once you’ve ensured your health, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help assess the validity of your case’s negligence, causation and damages and ensure you pursue the best way to recover maximum damages.
Suffering injuries from a slip-and-fall accident can leave victims with severe injuries and a lot of questions. At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we are here to answer all questions you may have. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping injured individuals across Arizona recover the compensation and justice they deserve. We know that slip-and-fall accidents that occur on sidewalks can be legally complex and are ready to help you pursue your claim providing you with unparalleled legal services and the resources you need to build a strong claim.
Contact our offices today and schedule a consultation at (928) 778-2660 or fill out our contact form.