The danger of damaged sidewalks

The danger of damaged sidewalks

Walking on the sidewalk feels almost automatic to many of us, we simply do it without thinking. We might be aware of potential hazards around us, other people, cars, trucks, bicycles etc., without considering whether or not the pavement itself is a hazard.

If you’ve ever tripped or fallen on a cracked or uneven pavement, then you’ll know that they can be dangerous. As a child, this may have happened to you regularly and you just dusted yourself off and got back to your day. As an adult, these falls become more difficult to shake off. If you are injured by a damaged pavement, can you hold someone liable?

What do sidewalk falls look like?  

Falls on the sidewalk may result from poor maintenance. For instance, potholes, cracks and severe damage may have occurred with nothing being done about it. Also, people often see the sidewalk as an ideal place to store items. Like any other place where high volumes of people are walking, the sidewalk is not a suitable storage area. A sign or tool used in construction could be a trip hazard when placed on the surface of a sidewalk.

Who is at fault?

Both public bodies and private entities can be held liable for falls on the sidewalk. Essentially, it boils down to who is responsible for maintaining the surface. In many cases, pavements are under the jurisdiction of public authorities, who have a responsibility to uphold the safety of members of the public. In other instances, the owner of a property is responsible for maintaining the part of the pavement that provides access to their building.

The law surrounding falls on the sidewalk can be complex and it tends to vary from state to state. Thus, if you have been injured after falling, be sure to explore your legal rights in further detail.