Many of us are walking more to meet our fitness tracker goals or simply because we live in cities where we walk instead of drive. Walking is a healthy form of exercise, but what if the unimaginable happens and you slip and fall on a public sidewalk? Can you sue your local government?
When Is a Government Liable for a Slip and Fall on a Public Sidewalk?
If you injured yourself in a fall on a public sidewalk, your case is more complicated than if you fell on private or business property. Governmental entities—like states, counties, cities, towns, and governmental agencies—have different rules regarding when they can be liable for their negligent actions. In general, a municipality can be held responsible if your slip and fall was caused by their negligence. However, it is not enough that you slipped and fell or that an icy or wet condition existed. You will most likely need to prove the following:
- The sidewalk must have been unreasonably unsafe.
- Your local government must have had actual or constructive notice of the problem. You will need to show that people had complained of the problem or that the defect existed long enough that the government knew or should have known of it.
Filing your claim against a municipality or governmental agency is different than in a typical slip and fall case, which usually begins by filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. An injured victim starts a claim for a slip and fall on government property by filing a notice of claim against the agency or municipality responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. There is a strict time period for filing the notice, so you need to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to not miss this important deadline.
Were you or a family member injured in a slip and fall on government-owned property? We urge you to fill out our online form today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced slip and fall legal team to learn about your legal options and the time limits you have to give your notice of your claim.