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Sidewalk Injuries and Liability

By Aghabegian Law Group, P.C. on October 10, 2020

When getting around a city like Los Angeles, Glendale, or Santa Monica, sidewalks are a must. They allow you to travel quickly and safely on foot without having to deal with Southern California’s crowded roadways. After all, driving everywhere is a hassle, especially when you just need to go down the street. Unfortunately, while sidewalks are meant to provide a safe stretch where pedestrians can walk without being too close to cars and other vehicles, if a sidewalk is not properly maintained, it can easily turn into a major health hazard.

How Are Sidewalks Dangerous?

We have all had a trip or two in our lifetimes. It’s a fact of life that at some point you will realize you misplaced your step and have lost balance. However, that does not mean you should just accept poorly maintained sidewalks. Sidewalks are incredibly hard materials that can seriously injure you if you suffer a trip and fall or a slip and fall, resulting in:

These kinds of injuries are difficult to recover from. They often require months of time away from work, long stays in the hospital, and potentially even surgery. That can cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. You should never have to pay for an accident that wasn’t your fault. But the first step to getting the compensation owed to you and your medical bills paid is figuring out just who is liable for your injuries.

Who Is Responsible for Sidewalk Upkeep?

The party responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk you were injured on will depend on which city or town you are in and what the liability laws in that area are. Some cities require the local businesses behind a sidewalk to maintain the area and ensure the sidewalk is clear and safe, while other cities take that responsibility on themselves. Determining who is liable may not be immediately obvious, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries. This can either lead to a premises liability claim against a nearby business or a government tort claim against a local government agency. Once you determine who to hold accountable, you can then begin the claims process. But an important part of that process is being able to prove that the at-fault party was acting in negligence.

How Do You Prove Negligence?

Proving negligence will depend on which group is liable for your fall. For example, most cities allow business owners 24-hours to clear any public walkways that they are responsible for. That means that if you slipped in a puddle from a rainstorm that had only just passed, then the business may still be within their allotted time limit before they are expected to have the sidewalk cleared. On the other hand, if the city is responsible for upkeep, they may have a shorter time frame, as they can hire workers who are specifically employed to keep walkways cleared and safe.

In either case, you will need to be able to prove certain factors. Those include:

  • The responsible party was aware, or should have reasonably been aware, that the walkway was in a dangerous condition;
  • Any reasonable person would realize that the dangerous condition could result in serious injuries;
  • The responsible party did not take the reasonable steps to fix the dangerous condition; and
  • This lack of action directly led to your injuries.

If you can prove these factors, then you likely have a successful claim on your hands. However, it is important to remember that there are time limits to premises liability claims. If you are filing against a shop owner, you have two years from the day of your injury to file said claim. If you are filing a claim against the city, then you have just six months. While both statutes of limitations may sound like a long time, having to juggle medical bills, time away from work, and recovering from injuries on top of filing a potentially lengthy claim can be next to impossible for one person.

That is why you need help from an expert Glendale personal injury attorney. We at Aghabegian & Associates, PC have been serving the people of Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley for over 25 years now and are more than capable of guiding you through the claims process. Call us at (818) 507-4311 to get skilled and compassionate legal aid.

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Posted in: Premises Liability

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