Slip and fall accidents in public can be not just painful and disabling, but emotionally traumatic as well. You’re deeply embarrassed about what happened, and you know that it wasn’t your fault. But how can you collect damages for your fall? Who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk or other areas where you were injured, and how can you prove it? Learn about slip and fall accidents on public sidewalks, how you can seek damages, who is responsible and why you need help from a personal injury attorney.
When the Municipality Is at Fault
It’s possible, though not entirely likely, that the city or local municipality may be responsible for your slip and fall. The only time this is true is if the city can be proven to have been negligent and that this negligence caused your injury. Unfortunately, just because the sidewalk was slippery, that doesn’t mean there was negligence involved. You’ll need to talk to your attorney about the circumstances, and whether or not the city is immune from lawsuits in this case.
Slipping on Snow and Ice
Ice and snow are the single most common cause of slip and fall accidents in public areas. The local city is rarely responsible for maintaining these areas, however. Usually, if the sidewalk is in front of a commercial building, the business owner or building owner is responsible.
For negligence to apply in this case, you must prove that the property owner was lax in their duty to maintain the sidewalk. This means that if you slip because of a sudden ice storm that just sprung up, liability may not attach if the building owner hasn’t had time to address the problem. If it’s been two days, however, they can be reasonably expected to take care of the issue. When this happens you’ll want to document your accident as thoroughly as possible to prove that there was negligence involved.
The local city does have the responsibility of maintaining streets and sidewalks, and if you fall into a pothole or trip over broken pavement, you may have a negligence claim. You should, as with ice-related accidents, document what happened and take photos. The more photographic evidence you have, the better able to support your claim you will be.
Suing the Government
It’s vital to understand that it’s complicated to sue a municipality for damages due to negligence. Not only can there be strict limits on how much you can collect, but there are strict requirements for filing notice and suits. These damages and limits can vary wildly from city to city across the state, so it’s important to talk with your attorney about your municipality.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney
In order to collect damages in your case, it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney. These cases, especially when local governments are involved, can be very tricky and complex, and only an attorney can help you collect compensation for your injuries. If you’re in South Carolina and need help with a slip and fall case, call the lawyers at Harris and Graves for a free case consultation today.