In some cases, sidewalks are in such disrepair that they present real hazards to pedestrians. If you fall and sustain an injury because of an unreasonably unsafe sidewalk condition, it’s possible to hold responsible parties liable for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Read on for more information about Georgia premises liability claims arising from defective or unsafe sidewalk accidents.Types of Sidewalk Accidents
Sidewalks can be public or private, but even with public sidewalks, the adjacent property owner (homeowner or business) may be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, such as removing snow and ice and repairing damaged concrete. This means a homeowner or business may be liable for injuries caused by a defective sidewalk. Potentially dangerous conditions leading to sidewalk accidents include:
- Brick sidewalks and walkways with loose or missing bricks
- Sidewalk cracks
- Broken up pavement or concrete
- Metal sidewalk grating that can catch a heel
- Tree roots buckling or lifting sidewalk pavement
- Improper snow and ice removal
- Utility access points that are not flat or level with the sidewalk surface
- Uneven or loose flagstone
One way property owners and insurance companies try to avoid responsibility for sidewalk accidents is by claiming the defect was “open and obvious.” However, you should not have to navigate an obstacle course when walking down the street. There is a difference between watching where one is going and being required to exercise extreme caution.Taking Photos After a Sidewalk Accident
With sidewalk accidents, it is especially important to document the scene, and to do so as soon as possible. If you tripped on cracked pavement, the city could potentially fix the sidewalk the next day. If you slipped on ice, the dangerous situation could be gone in a matter of minutes or hours. Taking photos of the hazard that caused your sidewalk accident can be crucial in proving your case.Showing Knowledge of the Dangerous Sidewalk Condition
With sidewalk accidents, as with all premises liability claims, you must show that the party responsible for maintaining the property knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. In order to show knowledge, past complaints are an excellent indicator that the property owner was aware of the hazard. For example, if a business has received numerous complaints about a tree root raising and buckling the sidewalk in front of its entryway, that’s strong evidence the business knew about the condition.
Surveillance videos are also a great source of evidence in dangerous property cases, and many times the footage comes from neighboring property owners. Therefore, it’s important to have the best investigators and attorneys working on your behalf, and as soon as possible.Contact the Legal Team at KWFDM after a Sidewalk Accident
If you have sustained an injury due to a dangerous sidewalk condition, contact the premises liability lawyers at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall, LLC at 404-460-0101. During a free initial consultation, we can evaluate your options for obtaining fair compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering.