Sidewalk Slip and Fall Liability
A slip and fall on a sidewalk can cause serious injuries with lifelong consequences and, in some cases, can even be fatal. What seems like a minor strain or sprain at first can turn into a long-term problem that results in missed work days. Common injuries from slip and falls include head and neck injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), back injuries, sprains and strains to the wrist and ankles, and broken bones. If you have been injured in a sidewalk slip and fall accident, who is responsible?
Every person using the sidewalk has a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings. Someone who trips and falls while talking on the phone or texting has only themselves to blame. However, property owners and municipalities have a duty of care to those using the sidewalks surrounding their premises. If your slip and fall was due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for financial compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability, and pain and suffering. A qualified Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer can help you determine if you have a good case.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Sidewalk slip and falls can happen for a wide range of reasons, including:
- Snow and ice
- Water accumulation
- Uneven surfaces
- Damage from tree roots
- Poor lighting
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall
To win compensation for your injuries in a slip and fall case, you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent in caring for the property. This means that it must be shown that an unreasonable safety hazard existed, that the owner knew about the safety hazard or should have known, and that the owner willfully neglected to eliminate or warn of the hazard.
City Sidewalks and Filing a Claim
If your slip and fall happened on a sidewalk belonging to the city or town, even if the city was negligent in taking care of the property, there are limitations on bringing a claim against government entities. Every state has different laws, but states and municipalities have strict timelines for making a slip and fall claim, and there is a limit to the damages that can be awarded in a successful claim.
Usually there is a very short window of opportunity to notify the proper municipal authority of your accident. You must do this in writing and include the exact location and circumstances of your accident and injuries. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a government entity is also shorter than for other types of personal injury claims.
It is very important to bring your claim against the correct government entity. If you are injured in a slip and fall at the bus stop and you give notice to the city, but it is the public transportation authority that maintains the bus stops, you may be in danger of missing the deadline by the time you send another letter of notice. Consulting with an experienced slip and fall lawyer can help ensure that your claim gets filed correctly.
What to Do If You are Injured in a Sidewalk Slip and Fall
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk and feel that it was due to negligence, it is very important to document what happened right away if your injuries permit it. Being able to show the circumstances that caused your accident is crucial to the success of your case. Take photos of the sidewalk conditions and your injuries. Gather eyewitness accounts and their contact information. Remember that conditions can change quickly; snow and ice can melt in a matter of hours and repairs can be made leaving no record of the holes or cracks that caused you to fall.
Experienced Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers Obtain Compensation for Injured Victims of Sidewalk Accidents
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a sidewalk slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for compensation. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, an experienced Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer will determine what your case might be worth and hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries. For a free consultation, call us at 757-352-2237 today or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we proudly represent clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.