Can You Sue the City for Injury Due to a Cracked Sidewalk?

Trip and fall injuries are some of the most common ways to get hurt on a daily basis. Although we often can make it from destination to destination without taking any damage, there are times where some external factor causes us harm. Defective sidewalks are an example of that external factor; every day, thousands of people get injured from stumbling or tripping on defective sidewalks. These victims include children playing, professionals on their way to work, travelers exploring the area, elderly people out shopping, and much more. In many cases, the victims can seek legal help in filing a claim to pursue financial restitution for any injuries they suffered when they tripped and fell on the sidewalk. The burden of responsibility may lie with different entities, however, and only a skilled sidewalk trip and fall attorney can help bring you the compensation you deserve. Our expert Los Angeles lawyers at the top-rated Normandie Law Firm field calls from clients who have been injured after falling on a walkway or sideway. These clients often have questions about the legal process and who they can legally sue for restitution. Some examples of these questions include:

  • Who is liable for a sidewalk injury fall?
  • Is the city responsible for my medical bills if I fall on the sidewalk?
  • Where can I find a broken sidewalk injury attorney in Los Angeles?
  • I need a lawyer experienced in sidewalk trip and fall accidents. Who can I call?
  • What are common injuries from a sidewalk fall?

Causes of Sidewalk Falls
Often, victims who sustain injuries in sidewalk falls will trip because of a problem with the sidewalk itself. Sidewalks can get damaged very easily: the weather can take a toll on them, what with rain and ice settling down and corroding the cement; objects can get dropped on them and cause cracks and splits; cars can drive up them if they are part of a driveway, leading to even more wear and tear; and the roots of trees can grow beneath the sidewalks, pushing them up and turning them into uneven sidewalks. As a result, walking on them requires more careful attention so as not to get injured from tripping and falling.

With raised sidewalks, your foot gets stuck on the elevated concrete, shifting all your weight forward when you move, and you fall. Most people walk with the intent of raising their feet at the curb, since that is most often the only elevated part of a sidewalk. However, you can also get stuck in potholes and cracks. Potholes on sidewalks can easily cause you to fall and damage your legs and knees.

The types of terms for these defective pathways include cracked sidewalk, raised sidewalk, sunken sidewalk, buckled sidewalk, and more.

In addition, there are some areas of the city that do not have a public sidewalk, forcing you to walk in the road. These areas usually feature properties whose lawns extend all the way to the curb, and the city does not regulate parking; therefore, you must walk either on someone’s property or on the pavement. City streets are usually less cared for than sidewalks, and they may be worse damaged. A sunken street is unsafe to drive or walk on, and a street with missing pavement can cause you to trip or get stuck and fall.

Because of the many different types of defective sidewalks and pathways that can injure you, it is advised to seek out an experienced attorney in Los Angeles to help you file a broken sidewalk lawsuit.

Potential Sidewalk Fall Injuries
A damaged sidewalk fall can cause many kinds of injuries. Commonly, you can suffer minor cuts, bruises, and abrasions, but if you fall particularly hard, you can break your leg, break your ankle, break your wrist, sprain your wrist, or sprain your back. Trying to keep yourself upright and twisting at an awkward angle can also damage your knees and tear your MCL or ACL, as well as strain your back. Falling downhill can greatly increase your injuries, resulting in head trauma, internal bleeding, organ damage, lacerations, piercing wounds, and more.

It is also possible to sustain additional injuries after the initial wounds; for example, if you fell on a sidewalk that was near a construction site, you may have suffered cuts and lacerations, but a rusty nail could have pierced your arm. You may be susceptible to infections and other illnesses stemming from all of the harmful material on the ground.

Falling in the street can bring about even more debilitating injuries than merely tripping on the sidewalk – cars are the main users of the street, after all, not pedestrians. Therefore, if you were to slip and fall over while in the street, a car may speed by and not notice you, running you over. This can result in crushed bones, organ damage, and irreparable permanent injuries. Similarly, if you are walking on a particularly dangerous section of sidewalk that is very close to traffic, you may fall into oncoming cars and be struck by a vehicle. Being hit by an automobile can cause severe injuries, including coma and death.

For this reason, finding an accomplished Los Angeles attorney with expertise in cracked sidewalk injury lawsuits can greatly increase your chances of compensation.

Who is Liable?
It can be difficult to determine who you should file a claim against when you fall on a damaged sidewalk. On the one hand, sidewalks are all owned and maintained by the city they are a part of, and most extensive repairs are carried out by them. On the other hand, sidewalks are said to be a natural extension of a homeowner’s property, and basic maintenance must be undertaken by the homeowner.

The circumstances surrounding the accident and the injury must be considered in order to determine the correct entity to sue. If you fell on a sidewalk that was not shoveled after a snowstorm, or there were no salt or solvent applied to the pavement to prevent ice from forming, you could very likely issue a personal injury claim against the homeowner. Homeowners are expected to keep the sidewalks clean of debris (like leaves, dirt, grass, mulch, gravel, and any other materials that can prevent pedestrians from safely traversing them), and in the case of inclement weather, are to do their due diligent in cleaning the sidewalks off.

Cities, on the other hand, usually employ workers who will drive around town with snowplows, plowing the snow from the street up to the curb and keeping it out of the way of drivers. These workers may also drive salt trucks that apply large amounts of salt to the roads to keep more snow from sticking. These vehicles damage the roads, which is why you notice more potholes and cracks in the street after winter ends. Falling in the street due to the negligence of the city to not plow the roads and remove the snow may enable you to sue the city. The road is not property extended to the homeowner.

The main differences in suing the city and filing a lawsuit against a property owner are the statute of limitations and the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. Normal personal injury lawsuits have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of injury to file a claim, and there is no cap on what you can earn. Filing a government claim, however, drastically reduces the statute of limitations: you have only six months to take action, or your claim will be barred. Governments do this in order to protect themselves from many lawsuits. Additionally, the city has measures in place to remove liability from itself if the defects do not meet a certain standard. For instance, a crack may need to measure 6 inches wide before it can be considered necessary to fix from the city’s point of view, and any claim filed pertaining to an injury from that crack will be barred.

In order to make sure you don’t miss any statute of limitations and to ensure that you are suing the right entity, you need a qualified lawyer experienced in sidewalk injury cases to take on your claim. The right attorney can help you earn compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

Why Choose Normandie?
Normandie Law Firm, one of the top law firms in Los Angeles, is here to make sure that you earn the maximum restitution from a defective sidewalk injury. We place our clients on a pedestal and aggressively fight for their rights when insurance companies will try to refuse payouts or offer meager sums. If you need experienced lawyers who have tons of experience handling sidewalk injury claims, we are the right choice to make.

FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION: Call us today for a free legal consultation with one of our skilled attorneys with experience in sidewalk injury cases. We will discuss your case, your injury, and what we expect you can earn from pursuing legal action. All of our consultations are totally confidential and informative, and we invite you to ask any questions you want. Our goal is to give you ample knowledge so that you can be confident in moving forward with legal action.

Further, we offer a zero fee guarantee on all our cases. You do not pay any out of pocket expenses for our legal services – we are paid only if we win your case, and our fees come from the settlement itself. This way, you are in no position to suffer a monetary loss, and you don’t have to stress about payments.

To speak with an attorney who has experience in sidewalk injury cases about filing a personal injury claim, contact Normandie Law Firm today.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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