Have you fallen on a sidewalk recently as the result of uneven pavement? If so, it is important to contact legal help immediately sufficiently document the situation and evaluate what led to the fall. Often, especially in older neighborhoods, tree roots uplift the sidewalk and cause a hazard to pedestrians. In other situations, particularly near car washes and automotive facilities, soapy liquids run down the sidewalk creating a slipping hazard for those using the walkway.
In many California cities, laws have been established to allow pedestrians to seek compensation for their losses through the property owner. However cases involving sidewalks are rarely that simple; if the property owner is the city, the case becomes complicated. To prove that the city was negligent in sidewalk maintenance and that they did not take reasonable care to repair tripping hazards, your lawyer must prove:
- That the sidewalk was in an unreasonably unsafe condition
- The property owner knew or should have known about the conditions that caused the injury (that the sidewalk was reasonably unsafe)
- The property owner breached the standard of care by failing to fix the condition within a reasonable time; and finally
- The breach is what caused your injury.
When a suit is brought against a property owner, the court takes several other factors into consideration such as what type of shoes you were wearing, whether you had experienced prior falls, and the presence of distractions like storefront windows. Also, how significant was the defect? If it was less than inch, the judge could rule that it was a ‘trivial defect’ and consequently, does not require repairs.
With so many factors to consider, some make the mistake of taking too long to take action. In the state of California, a sidewalk injury case has a statute of limitations of two years. If two years has passed since the time of the fall, you are no longer able to seek compensation for injuries sustained as the result of a sidewalk. Furthermore, if in this time you have not sought legal help and worn the shoes associated with the fall, the shoes are unlikely to be considered in verdict.
Call the Law Offices of Savin & Bursk today for a free consultation. We have years of experience handling sidewalk injury cases and are prepared to help you navigate the situation and protect you against insurance companies.