Are You Liable for a Defective Sidewalk?

Symbol of a Man Falling Van Sant Law

Slip and Fall Lawyer Fighting for Injury Victims on Atlanta’s Sidewalks

When someone slips, trips, or falls on a public sidewalk, it is hard to tell who is responsible for the injury. Sometimes, no one is liable; other times, multiple parties might be considered responsible.

Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case

To win your case, you must prove that a property owner was negligent. The property owner’s defense attorney or insurance claims adjuster is likely to put part of the blame on you. But, just because you slipped and fell on a sidewalk, even on someone’s property, does not mean that the owner was negligent.
Negligence is a complex area of law, and it is not always easily defined in every personal injury claim. There are instances where you could be considered liable, too. To establish negligence, you must prove that the sidewalk itself was unreasonable unsafe or defective, for instance. You must show that the owner or person responsible for the sidewalk knew about the condition, yet failed to act appropriately.

Public Sidewalks: Who is to Blame for Defects?

A defective condition on a public sidewalk depends on the laws of that state. When the public sidewalk is outside of a private residence, the homeowner’s insurance policy might dictate liability. Typically, the city is responsible for all sidewalks, but some require homeowners to maintain any sidewalk in front of the property.

When the City is at Fault

Personal injury claims against the city are not the same as those filed against a private entity. Public sidewalks managed by the city have limitations on your right to sue. The city will have a strict deadline for how much time you have to file your suit, and you may have to provide an official notice within a specific number of days. The state might also limit how much you can recover if you were to win the lawsuit.

Proving Liability in a Defective Sidewalk Case

Regardless of the parties involved, you still must establish liability. To help your case, try to take photographs of the accident scene. If you are too injured, request that a family member or friend to take the pictures for you. Next, take pictures of your clothes and the injuries you suffered. These will help establish that you suffered a legitimate injury.
Even if you feel fine, seek medical treatment immediately. A doctor can show: i) that you had an injury, ii) how that injury happened, and iii) your prognosis or recommended treatments, based on your medical chart.
Your slip and fall attorney will need to gather evidence that establishes liability. That might include reports of previous injuries from that same sidewalk, and instances where the owner failed to correct it. Other times, maintenance records from the city can prove that the defect was documented.

Have You Been Injured On Someone Else’s Property?

If you’ve been injured due to neglect while on someone else’s property you need to speak with an experienced
premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or
404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.

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