Who Is Liable If I Fall While Crossing The Street?

Accidents happen everywhere, and they cause a variety of damages to the people involved in them. One type of accident that people overlook is slipping or falling while on a public road or sidewalk. Depending on the cause of the fall, the victim may be eligible for compensation from the local government that the sidewalk is owned and maintained by.

Liability on Streets and Sidewalks

For a municipality to be responsible for the damages caused by a fall while on a public sidewalk or street, the accident must be proven to have been caused by the municipality's negligence. Negligence is simply failing to take proper care of something or failure to be attentive while performing an action. Often, cities are responsible for maintaining their roads and sidewalks, so an accident that is caused by a poorly maintained sidewalk is the city's fault, and they may be liable for the damages.

Many municipalities have substantial restrictions on how and when someone may file a claim against them. Two of the most common ways are by limiting the amount of time the victim must make a claim and by restricting how much money a victim can receive if they win their case.

As previously stated, a municipality will only be held liable for a trip on a sidewalk or road if they were somehow negligent in the upkeep of the road or sidewalk, and their negligence directly caused the accident. A city is not liable merely because you fell while walking on their street. Even if the sidewalk or street is slippery or has other unsafe conditions, if the conditions did not cause by the city's negligence, then the city will not be held liable for the accident. If the fall happened because of an unsafe condition on the street, you must also prove that the town knew about, or should have known about the dangerous condition and that the city should have fixed the issue.

Causes Of Falls On Streets And Sidewalks

The two leading causes of falls on a street or sidewalk are ice & snow or the sidewalk or street being broken in some way.

Cities do not have a responsibility to remove ice and snow from residential or commercial areas, so a fall in such an area will not be due to their negligence. However, if you slip or fall in one of these areas you may have a claim against the owner of the residence or the commercial property. A city is often only responsible for cleaning the snow or ice in front of a public building, so they will only be liable if the accident takes place in front of a city building. If you do fall in front of a town building, attempt to take pictures of the walking conditions where you fell. Photos that show the conditions that caused the accident prove to be invaluable in showing someone's negligence.

A city is obligated to keep their roads and sidewalks in proper condition. That means they are expected to repair any imperfections in the roads and sidewalks. Depending on the size of the imperfection in the path or road, an accident that occurs due to a broken sidewalk or street could be caused by the city's negligence and the city will be liable for the damages. You should attempt to take photos of the road imperfection that caused your accident, like an accident that occurs on snow or ice.

Limitations When Suing Municipalities

Municipalities often have rules governing how the public can make a claim against them. The two most common standards are that a victim must make their claim within a small window of time, and the compensation a victim can earn is often restricted.

How To File A Claim Against A Municipality

The deadline a victim must file a claim will differ from state to state. Some states may give the victim thirty days, while another may give them much less. You must also take care in which department or government entity that you make your claim too. Sending your claim to the wrong municipal department may bar your claim, and a claim for an accident that happened because of the negligence of the state should go to the state, not the city. To ensure that your claim reaches the right office, you should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer in Rockville. We have experience working with various agencies and can help you navigate the difficult process of filing a claim against a municipality.

All states have different restrictions as to the amount of money that a victim can win in a lawsuit against the state. The number may be lower than $100,000, which depending on the accident may not be enough.