Slip-and-fall Accidents in the City: Who’s Liable?

Updated: Aug 3


If you have slipped or fallen on a sidewalk in the city due to a hole in the ground or a slab of concrete being uneven you may wonder who is held responsible? Well technically in this case the city would be responsible. But in order to hold a government entity liable for injuries, as is in almost any personal injury cases, there must be some sort of negligence. Therefore there are serious limitations, sorry clumsy folks . There are very strict procedural rules for making an injury claim, and many jurisdictions place a limit on how much you can recover in damages for your injury.


When Is A City Liable For A Slip And Fall Accident?

The city is only liable for a slip and fall accident on a street or sidewalk if it was negligent and that was the cause of the accident. Just because you fell on a street or sidewalk does not mean that the city was negligent, necessarily. Also just because there may have been a slippery condition on the street or sidewalk does not mean that the city was negligent. The street or sidewalk had to have been unreasonably and visibly unsafe. In order to prove negligence, you must prove that it should have known of the unsafe condition and already had it repaired or indicated with some type of warning sign.


Time and Notice Deadlines for Claims Against a City

These deadlines differ from state to state, but usually are done on a short deadline, something like 30 days, to notify the proper department of the city. In that note it should state the location of the accident and a recounting of the incident that lead to your fall

These claims are taken very seriously and sometimes if you send it to the wrong department then they may bar your claim. You also need to ensure that you make your claim against the proper governmental entity because certain situations call for different measures of handling.

To make it simpler to understand, we will provide an example. Let’s say that you trip on a broken sidewalk in a city street that goes over a state highway. You would think to only send the notice to the city, although in this case it may be the state highway department. There are numerous technicalities and it takes intensive research to indicate where the proper place to send the notice is and within the proper time frames.


Proving Liability in a Sidewalk Fall Case

Just like any accident these things will help your personal injury attorney form a case on your behalf. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, your clothes, any injuries you may have incurred. This serves as crucial evidence for your case. If you are with someone and unable to take photos yourself, have someone do it for you.

The city may fix the site of the problem the next day. So if you don’t take the picture when the accident happened it may be difficult or close to impossible to win a slip and fall case without the images from the moment of your injury. If you have been involved in a case like this you may want to call a personal injury attorney. Here at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm we will walk you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve. Call today for your free consultation!


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