In order for someone to be held responsible in a personal injury case, there needs to be a type of negligence. It can be difficult to find someone responsible if someone slips and falls on a sidewalk.
Slip and Fall Negligence
You will need to find that someone was acting negligently in order to hold them liable for a slip and fall case. For instance, you will need to prove that the owner of the property that caused your injury did something wrong. Just because you tripped and fell on private or public property, does not necessarily mean that the owner of the property did anything wrong. It also does not necessarily matter or mean someone was negligent if the sidewalk was in a condition that caused you to fall. In order for someone to be held liable, the sidewalk would have had to been in an unreasonable condition that caused for it to be unsafe. If the property owner was negligent, you will need to prove that the owner of the property was aware or should have been reasonably aware that the sidewalk was dangerous.
Public Sidewalk Liability
It depends on the state’s laws and the homeowner’s deed when determining who is liability for a dangerous condition of a public sidewalk. Some states require the municipality to be responsible for any maintenance of public sidewalks. However, in other states, it may not be as clearly stated. In states where it is less clear, the municipality could be liable, the property owner could be liable, or both parties could be liable.
If you have been injured due to slipping and falling on a public sidewalk, you need to know two different limitations that most states have on a victim’s right to sue a municipality. It is important to note that most states have extremely strict time and notice deadlines to make a slip and fall claim against the municipality. Secondly, states generally place a set limit on how much money you are able to recover from the state if you happen to win a slip and fall case.
How to Prove a Slip and Fall Case
It is important if you are involved in a slip and fall accident to take pictures of the scene of the accident, any bruises you received, and your clothes as soon as possible. By documenting the event as quickly as possible, you are able to show the potential judge and jury exactly what happened at the time of the event. One the city is notified of the accident, they could come and fix the broken sidewalk in the following days, which would be hard for you to prove it was broken without photographs. If you slipped and fell due to any weather conditions, ice and snow can melt within a few minutes, so it would be impossible to win a case without any photographic evidence proving what the sidewalk looked like when you fell.
In addition to photographs of the scene of the accident, you should look into obtaining any complaints that the state has received about the sidewalk’s condition in the past. As previously mentioned, it is not enough to just show that the sidewalk was in a bad condition. To win a slip and fall case, you will need to show that the municipality or property owner was aware of the dangerous conditions and chose not to remedy the situation. A trip and fall lawyer trust can help with any further questions.