Sidewalks are designed to keep you away from traffic and the dangers of a pedestrian accident. When you think of them, you imagine safety, not a slip and fall hazard. But what happens when you slip and fall on a sidewalk. Who do you hold liable for your injuries?
Broken Sidewalks in Atlanta
Poorly maintained sidewalks are an ever-present menace in Atlanta. According to an article from the Saporta Report, areas surrounding the Shepherd Center are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. The sidewalks are cracked, poorly marked, and have broken surfaces, making them a slip and fall hazard.
The cost of repairing these sidewalks is projected to cost over $200 million, which could explain why the City of Atlanta has shifted the responsibility to fix them to property owners. With no clear lines on who to blame, the sidewalks continue to deteriorate.
Who between the city and the property owners adjacent to the sidewalks should be held responsible for a slip and fall accident? the following two scenarios arise:
A: When the City Is Liable
Slipping and falling or a sidewalk does not automatically make the city liable for our accident. A municipality can only be held liable for a slip and fall on a sidewalk if it was negligent and its negligence resulted in the accident. Additionally, the sidewalk must be in front of a public area or building.
To prove your injury claim, you must show that the municipality knew or should have reasonably known of a dangerous condition. You must also establish that the sidewalk was unreasonably safe for use.
B: When the Property Owner Is Liable
If your slip and fall took place on a sidewalk in front of a private residence or commercial building, the property owner might be liable for the accident. This situation is especially common where the property owner fails to clear snow or ice from their sidewalk. You can pursue a personal injury claim against them for your injuries.
Filing an Injury Claim Against a City
Typically, local and state governments are immune from injury liability before accounting for all the other ways they waive responsibility. This means that if you wish to file a claim against a government agency, you will need to follow very strict guidelines. These may include:
- A 30-day deadline to notify the proper municipal department in the town or city of injury
- A dollar amount request for compensation
- A detailed written description of your claim
It is vital to consult an attorney if you wish to pursue a slip and fall claim against a government entity. Even something as simple as sending your notice to the wrong municipal department can get your case dismissed.
Consult an Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
Determining liability in a slip and fall on a sidewalk can prove challenging without the help of a sidewalk slip and fall accident attorney. Ponton Law understands the importance of proper legal representation in securing favorable results. If you have been injured in such an accident, contact us on (404) 860-2454 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Attorney.