Suppose you have sustained an injury from tripping or falling over an uneven sidewalk that the property owner reasonably knew about and did not take measures to fix. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation. To determine liability and next steps, it is in your best interest to immediately confer with a personal injury or accident attorney that understands California law.
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What Constitutes a Sidewalk Accident?
Sidewalk-related injuries and accidents are frequently due to the property owner neglecting required maintenance. Unsafe sidewalk conditions may look like this:
- Tree roots have caused sections of the sidewalk to crack and raise,
- Uneven sections,
- Large cracks in sidewalks seams;
- The sidewalk slab is raised or uneven by 1/4 to 1/2 inches.
A sidewalk accident might happen in the following ways:
- trip and fall accident,
- slip and fall accident,
- irregular sidewalk,
- defective sidewalk,
- cracked sidewalk,
- sidewalk’s unsatisfactory condition;
- a motor vehicle drives onto the sidewalk and hits you.
Who is Liable? Determining Liability in CA Law
To win a sidewalk accident case, you must prove that the property owner was negligent. Simply falling on someone’s property does not inherently imply negligence, even if the sidewalk is in poor condition. You must prove that:
- Your accident was due to unsafe sidewalk conditions,
- The property owner was aware of hazardous sidewalk conditions but did not take measures to improve the conditions (negligence), and
- You have sustained an injury due to this accident.
California Law on Personal Injury
The standard statute of limitations in California to file an injury claim is two years from the date of the sidewalk accident, but only six months if a government entity is involved.
If you fail to file a claim within the correct period, you will be unable to recover any damages for your injuries.
Immediate Steps: What to do When you have Sustained a Sidewalk Injury
The key to winning a slip-and-fall case is proving liability. People trip and fall all the time due to carelessness, but tripping over your own feet will not award you compensation for any damages. The difference in a personal injury case is proving that someone else is at fault for your injury.
When you sustain a sidewalk injury, immediately take the following steps to support your case:
- Quality photographs of the sidewalk defect from multiple angles,
- Note the shoes you were wearing during the accident,
- Note any witness statements from those nearby, especially those who can testify to the sidewalk’s poor condition,
- If there are no witnesses around, alert the property owner or management of the establishment,
- Contact the police if a motor vehicle was involved and keep the police report.
- Contact a personal injury or accident attorney.
What Compensation Are You Entitled To?
Depending on the nature of your accident, you may file a premises liability lawsuit or a car accident lawsuit.
In California, you can claim two damages for personal injury claims: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- medical expenses,
- physical therapy,
- prescription medication,
- property damage,
- lost property,
- lost income,
- lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages include:
- claims for pain and suffering,
- emotional distress,
- psychological trauma,
- anxiety or PTSD,
- fear you experienced due to the incident.
An Accident Attorney Can Prove Your Case
Navigating the legal system while dealing with an injury can be incredibly stressful. You do not have to do this alone.
An experienced accident attorney can use your evidence to prove best that the other party was negligent, prove their negligence caused your injuries, detail the damages resulting from those injuries, and file a timely claim that meets California standards.