Updated: Feb 28
Slip and fall accidents are common occurrences, and they can happen anywhere and at any time. When they occur on a public sidewalk, the question of who is liable for the damages and injuries can be complicated. In this article, we will discuss the legal rights of individuals who suffer slip and fall accidents on city sidewalks and the liability of the city in such cases.
Understanding the Duty of Care of the City
Cities have a legal obligation to maintain their sidewalks to ensure the safety of the public. This duty of care includes regular inspections, prompt repairs, and adequate warning signs for any hazards. Failure to maintain sidewalks to a reasonable standard can result in the city being held liable for any damages and injuries that result from slip and fall accidents.
The Factors That Determine City Liability
City liability for sidewalk slip and fall accidents depends on several factors. The city's duty of care, the nature of the hazard that caused the accident, and the injured party's actions are all taken into account. For instance, if a city failed to repair a hazardous condition on a sidewalk within a reasonable amount of time and an individual suffers injuries as a result, the city may be liable for the damages.
Proving City Liability
To prove city liability in a sidewalk slip and fall accident, the injured party must show that the city knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused the accident. This can be done by providing evidence of the city's duty of care, records of previous complaints or accidents, and expert testimony.
Florida Laws on City Liability for Sidewalks:
Under Florida law, cities are responsible for maintaining their sidewalks. In fact, Florida Statute § 337.401 states that "the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and cleaning of all state roads and publicly owned sidewalks...is a state responsibility." This means that cities are liable for any injuries or damages caused by their failure to maintain sidewalks.
In addition, Florida law imposes a duty on property owners and occupiers to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. This includes sidewalks abutting their property. However, if the sidewalk is owned and maintained by the city, the city is ultimately responsible for any slip and fall accidents that occur.
The Statute of Limitations
It is important to note that there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim against a city for a sidewalk slip and fall accident. In most cases, the injured party has a limited amount of time to file a claim, usually within six months to one year from the date of the accident. Failing to file within the statute of limitations can result in the loss of the right to sue.
How to File a Claim Against a Florida City for Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on a city sidewalk in Florida, you may be able to file a claim against the city for damages. To do so, you must first file a notice of claim with the city clerk or attorney within a certain time frame, typically within six months of the accident.
After filing the notice of claim, the city will investigate the incident and may offer a settlement. If the city denies the claim, the injured party can file a lawsuit against the city. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the complex process of filing a claim against a city.
If you suffer injuries from a sidewalk slip and fall accident, it is essential to understand your legal rights and the city's duty of care. The liability of the city depends on several factors, and proving city liability can be challenging. However, with proper evidence and expert testimony, it is possible to hold the city liable for any damages and injuries resulting from a hazardous condition on a public sidewalk. If you have been injured in a sidewalk slip and fall accident, contact a personal injury attorney at Demesmin and Dover to discuss your legal options.