Private property owners, commercial property owners, and municipalities have a duty to protect passersby by properly maintaining sidewalks. When sidewalks are not properly maintained, it poses a hazard to pedestrians, leading to the potential for serious injuries. Serious fall accidents, including slip and falls or trip and falls, can subject a person to broken bones, concussions, spinal cord damage and more. These injuries can have wide-reaching effects on your life, including overwhelming medical bills, lost wages, and an impact on your quality of life. If you believe that you are in this situation, it may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Timian & Fawcett, LLC provides effective legal support to clients in Prince George’s County, the greater DC Metro area, and all of Maryland. For a free consultation, contact Timian & Fawcett, LLC.
Negligent causes of sidewalk accidents
Most sidewalks are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. While most think that municipalities are responsible for all sidewalks, it is often the owner of the property or tenant of the property attached that needs to care for the condition of the walkway, whether that be a private citizen, commercial property owner, or municipality. The property owner or tenant must keep the sidewalk clear of all hazards that could harm pedestrians, including, but not limited to:
- Weather conditions (outside of the allotted time after a storm)
- Surface problems
- Hazardous materials
- Loose debris
The plaintiff will be subject to the burden of proof, meaning that he or she will need to prove that the property owner acted negligently. To be successful, the plaintiff would have to prove that the property owner knew or should have reasonably known about the hazard or was previously notified about the hazard and did not act to rectify the problem. When it comes to weather conditions, the matter is a bit more complicated. Most municipalities give its constituents time to clear sidewalks of snow and ice after a storm. In Hyattsville, where Timian & Fawcett, LLC is located, the city provides 24 hours for property owners to clear sidewalks after a storm. If you were to get hurt within that 24 hours, you may not be entitled to sue because you took the risk traveling.
If you are injured, it is important to take some important steps. First and foremost, seek medical attention. When a medical professional gets to the scene, they will document much of the incident while providing the care you need. If you are able to preserve evidence for yourself, do so. Take pictures and talk to witnesses that can corroborate your claim. If you are not able to act for yourself, it would be in your best interests to contact an attorney that can come to the scene and preserve evidence on your behalf. Especially in cases involving weather conditions, it is important to preserve evidence as it can disappear at a moment’s notice.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney
Timian & Fawcett, LLC has decades of experience helping victims of negligence. If you have been seriously injured by negligence, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Our firm is ready to fight for maximum compensation allowed by law. You should not live a life burdened by the actions or inaction of another. Contact our firm to discuss your legal matter and how we may be able to help.