Yes, you can! But it is not exactly that simple. If you’ve been injured because you fell on a broken or uneven sidewalk, read on to learn who and how you can sue and recover for your injuries.
Document the Incident
First, follow the proper procedure to support any personal injury claim you might make:
- Take photos of the hazardous condition, any warning signs, injuries, clothing, etc.
- Report the incident to the property authority
- Take a note of any witnesses
- Seek medical attention for your injuries
- Hire an attorney
Who Owns the Sidewalk?
Next, you will need to determine who owns the sidewalk (if you’ve hired a lawyer, they can help you do this). The owner might be a resident, a business, or even a governmental entity. This is important because you will need to know who to file a claim against.
- Residential Property Owner. All home insurance policies have a section that describes the coverage of liability. If you were injured on the home’s sidewalk, you would file a claim against the homeowner’s insurance company.
- Business Owner. If the sidewalk you were injured is located in front of a business, you might need to do even further investigation into who owns it. Is it the business owner? Or the owner property owner? A search of property records can help you determine who is liable. Again, most businesses will have insurance that covers their liability, and you would file a claim against that insurance company.
- Government Entity. There is always a chance that the sidewalk is owned by the city or some other type of government entity. If that is the case, make sure to do your research. Bringing a claim against a government entity usually involves more steps and stricter guidelines, your best bet is to hire a lawyer.
Was it the Owner’s Fault?
Then, you and your lawyer will need to determine if the sidewalk was broken or uneven due to the owner’s negligence. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. For example, in a personal injury case arising from a fall on a broken or uneven sidewalk, you would need to prove the following:
- Duty: The owner owed you a duty to maintain the sidewalk.
- Breach of Duty: The owner breached that duty when they failed to maintain the sidewalk and it became broken or uneven.
- Causation: The owner’s breach of duty caused the fall.
- Damages: You suffered a personal injury as a result.
If you can prove the owner was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation.