What Are Reasons Sidewalk Accidents Occur?Sidewalk accidents can happen due to natural reasons or the negligence of property owners and city entities. For example, adverse weather, earthquakes, storms, and extreme heat can all shift sidewalks in some way, leading to cracks, jagged edges, raised sections, and more. The defects may not be readily visible and could pose a large hazard to anyone walking. In such instances, the city is usually responsible for the repairs. Activities and actions could wear a sidewalk down; vehicles that constantly drive on the sidewalk, impact from dropped materials, walking, and more can all contribute to the deterioration of a sidewalk. The city may have planted trees whose roots eventually caused damage to the sidewalk, or they may have made errors when laying the sidewalk down. It is necessary that the soil below the concrete be compacted and immobile; if the soil is loose or not pressed, the concrete atop it can shift and separate. These issues should be fixed by the city, and if you need a Long Beach accident attorney to help you after a fall, contact our firm.
Who Is Liable In A Sidewalk Accident?Liability can be determined in a few different ways. Most commonly, sidewalk accidents can be attributed to the negligent action of a business owner or a property owner. The sidewalks in front of homes and companies must be kept clean by the inhabitants. It is the duty of those individuals to ensure there are no cracks, holes, jagged edges, ice, materials and hazards, and other issues with the sidewalk. If they do not take care of the sidewalks, they can be held responsible for any ensuing accidents. Cities, however, are liable for sidewalks as well. Just like with property owners, cities can be held responsible if the accident happens on a sidewalk in front of a city building. Further, the city likely planted trees in hundreds of neighborhoods, which could result in the tree roots spreading beneath the sidewalk and cracking it or raising it. The city also routinely repairs water lines, telephone lines, and other things, and their vehicles and tools can crack and damage sidewalks. The city often refuses to fix the issues they caused in the first place. The city will often try to claim that it does not need to repair a sidewalk if the damage is negligible, as in the case of small cracks and damages. This is but one of many issues with the city. In order to sue, you will need to show that the responsible party fulfilled one of these points:
- He knew there was an issue with the sidewalk but chose not to fix it or repair it or to put any warning signs for pedestrians
- He caused the problem with the sidewalk in the first place
- He did not know there was a defect or problem but should have reasonably known if he had paid more attention to the area or any complaints from others
How Can I Sue For Negligence?Personal injury lawsuits, and premises liability lawsuits specifically, can be filed with the proving of negligence of the responsible party. Generally, you are owed a duty of care in day-to-day life to be kept safe where others can manage it. This means that property owners must take care of sidewalks and prevent dangers and hazards from forming. The degree of care depends on your status; you may be an invitee (customer, for example), a licensee (friend or guest), or a trespasser (individual without the legal right to be on the property).
Learn more about your legal options by chatting with a representative now.Invitees may be walking on the sidewalk near businesses, while a licensee could be walking outside of a friend’s home. Trespassers may be in private apartment complexes and fall on the sidewalks inside. You must prove these four points of negligence to win your case:
- You were owed a duty of care
- The duty of care was breached
- The breach resulted in an accident
- The accident led to actual physical harm
How Much Can I Receive From A Sidewalk Accident Lawsuit?A sidewalk accident lawsuit can result in different amounts of compensation depending on the circumstances of the incident. You may be able to receive over $1,000,000 if you were seriously injured and if the responsible party were highly negligent. Some cases, though, are worth less than $10,000 because of very minor injuries, or because you were partially at fault. An insurance agent will determine the amount to offer you after evaluating your injuries. If they were severe and had a profound effect on your daily life and ability to continue working, you would probably receive a sizeable offer. If he feels that you were not as badly hurt as you claim, he would probably make a much smaller offer. It is our job to ensure that the offer is respectable and worthwhile.
What Kind Of Compensation Can I Get From A Sidewalk Accident?Your sidewalk accident lawsuit can yield various types of compensation. As a victim of an accident, you can have the damages covered by the insurance agency, but you may not be able to receive the maximum amount without the help of a skilled lawyer. We can make sure you get the following:
- Coverage for medical expenses from the past and future (surgery, physical therapy, medication, hospitalization, and more)
- Property damage (for any items that were lost or broken in the incident, like cell phones, sunglasses, and more)
- Missed wages from the past and future
- Pain and suffering (psychological trauma, emotional scarring, PTSD, anxiety, fear)
- Wrongful death expenses (pre-death medical bills and pain and suffering, funeral and burial costs, loss of consortium, loss of sexuality and companionship, loss of expected savings and inheritance)
Learn more about your options for compensation by calling (213) 389-3765.Our lawyers will do all we can to bring you the compensation you deserve.