As Floridians, we spend a lot of time outside on sidewalks. Whether a walker, jogger, bike rider, or runner, you may be at risk of a sidewalk accident. Although it is common for sidewalks to be bumpy and sometimes even un-level, the average person is not looking down at a sidewalk to ensure they are not at risk of harm.
We may watch out for extreme grooves, dips, or holes in the sidewalk, but we cannot always watch out for them all. In some circumstances, we may be obligated to watch out for your every day dip in a walkway. However, when a sidewalk presents an unreasonable risk of harm, landowners may be held liable for those defects.
Who is Responsible?
As pedestrians, we are required to exercise a certain amount of care when we are walking around. It would be close to impossible if landowners were required to repair every little blemish on their walkway/sidewalks. It is only unreasonable risks that landowners are required to repair and warn about.
If a sidewalk is installed by a private developer, it becomes that developer’s duty to maintain that property. The private developer will be required to protect pedestrians and/or patrons from unreasonable danger as it pertains to their walkway.
Note: Unreasonable risk is extremely fact dependent and will require a fact analysis to determine what is and is not unreasonable risk.
Moreover, states and public entities may also be held liable for a defective sidewalk if that sidewalk presents an unreasonable harm. Some sidewalks are built by a city, and thus the city would be required to maintain those walkways and would be held responsible to prevent fall accidents. States have the duty to maintain sidewalks that would keep the public reasonably safe during use.
Sidewalk accidents can be caused in a number of different ways. For instance, if a sidewalk or walkway is cracked to the point that the sidewalk is jutting up from the ground as a result of a weather or age, a sidewalk accident can occur. Potholes cause accidents as it prevents the surface from being even. Slippery surfaces may also cause one to injure themselves in a sidewalk accident.
Process of Recovery
If someone is injured as a result of a sidewalk accident, in order to recover from a public entity the injured party must prove that the defendant owned the land or at the very least had custody of it. Next, one must prove that there existed some sort of defect, which created an unreasonable risk of harm. Then, the injured party must show that the entity failed to take corrective action in enough time to prevent the accident. Finally, an injured party must prove that their injury resulted from the negligence of the property owner/custodian.
If you have been injured after a sidewalk accident, be sure to report your injury immediately. Next, take photographs of the defect or cause of the accident. If there are witnesses, be sure to get their names and contact information.
Lastly, if you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a sidewalk accident, call our office; we are here to help you. You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.