Who Is Liable For Your Sidewalk Injury?
There are lots of reasons why people might fall due to someone else’s negligence. For instance, maybe a landlord refuses to repair broken stairs outside an apartment. Perhaps a business owner knowingly allows a massive broken section of the entryway to remain unrepaired until someone trips and gets hurt. Loose railings are also a big problem.
But what about when someone falls on a public sidewalk? When can the city or government be held liable for the injuries?
At Roman & Roman, P.A., we always explore all options for compensation to make sure that if our clients have the right to be compensated, we aggressively pursue justice on their behalf.
General Rules About Public Sidewalks
The most fundamental rule to keep in mind is that in order to successfully recover compensation, you must prove that someone else acted negligently, and that negligent behavior caused your injuries. This may seem straightforward, but there’s actually quite a lot too it.
When is a Fall Not Really a Fall?
The term fall is a bit deceiving, because most slip and fall accidents in Tampa and Clearwater are anything but true falls. They could probably be better defined as “trip” and fall cases. This is because it’s not really a case if you just lose your balance and fall down.That’s no one’s fault but yours.
So, where liability comes into play is where a property owner allows a hazardous condition to exist, and that condition trips someone or causes them to fall. Here are a couple situations where sidewalks can be dangerous and lead to negligence actions:
Private Sidewalks – A private sidewalk is one that is wholly or partly on private property and the owner has a legal obligation to maintain it. If the public is invited to come on to the property, and the conditions are not kept safe, then the property owner might be liable for the injuries that result.
Public Sidewalks – A public sidewalk is a different matter. Municipalities have special rules concerning when and how you can sue for injuries. Likewise, many communities have sidewalks that are maintained by private homeowners’ organizations and community associations. Therefore, it can be a bit tough to determine exactly who was responsible for upkeep and maintenance.
Deadlines for Filing Claims Against the Government
If you are injured in Florida, you usually will have up to 4 years to bring your lawsuit. However, if you are suing the state, you only get 3 years. Further, there are general caps on the amount of money you can recover when suing the State of Florida or any municipal agency. Under Section 768.28 of the Florida Revised Statutes, the State’s immunity to lawsuits is waived under specific situations. Some local governments have specific procedures for notifying them about your injuries. Failure to carefully follow the rules can lead to the loss of a claim.
How to Win Your Case
The best way to give yourself an edge is to hire an experienced attorney who can advocate for your rights. At Roman & Roman, P.A., our Clearwater personal injury lawyers have been representing injured people throughout the Tampa Bay area for more than 20 years. Give us a call if you’re hurt and need help.