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Defective Sidewalk Conditions

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Remedying dangerous or defective conditions in sidewalks is generally the responsibility of the city.  Failing to adequately remedy defects in sidewalks can cause injuries to the pedestrians who use them.  

Can I Sue The City For Injuries I Suffered From A Defective Sidewalk?

If you were injured using a defective sidewalk, the city responsible for maintaining the sidewalk may be responsible.  To recover for your injuries, there are four things you must prove:

  • Duty

A city has a duty to keep sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition.  Most jurisdictions have a statutory duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining sidewalks to keep them in reasonably safe condition for public travel.  This does not mean the sidewalk must be free from all dangers.  It means that the sidewalks must be in reasonably safe condition considering the location, use, and amount of travel over it. 

  • Breach

Breach is the failure of the city to remedy the defect.  To prove breach, you must show that the city violated its duty with respect to the condition of the sidewalk.

  • Proximate Cause

It must be shown that the defect in the sidewalk was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury.  This is done by showing that it is more probable than not that the defect caused the injury.

  • Notice

The city must have had actual or constructive notice of the defect in the sidewalk.  Generally, there is no liability unless it can be shown that the city knew or should have known of the defect for a sufficient legnth of time prior to the accident so that the city had time to take precautions or guard against injury.  

For example, evidence that others have fallen on the same sidewalk can show the city should have known of a defect.  The notice requirement in some jurisdictions may be statutory, requiring the city to have written notice within a specific amount of time before the accident.

Do I Need To Consult An Attorney Regarding Injuries I Suffered From A Defective Sidewalk?

If you have suffered injuries from a dangerous or defective public sidewalk, the city may be responsible.  Proving your case and dealing with the city can be difficult, but a personal injury lawyer can help you recover for your injuries.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-10-2016 09:51 AM PDT

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