In Maryland, sidewalks are almost everywhere to provide pedestrians with a safe space to navigate the roadways on foot. While these pathways are generally well-maintained, accidents can happen due to negligence. When the appropriate parties fail to uphold their legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for passerby, catastrophic accidents and injuries may occur. You may wonder who is liable for your injuries if you’ve been injured on a public sidewalk. Please continue reading to learn whether slips and falls on a public sidewalk are the city’s responsibility and how a dedicated Prince George’s County Sidewalk Accident Lawyer can help you fight for the justice you deserve.
Who’s responsible for maintaining public sidewalks?
After a sidewalk accident, it can be challenging to determine who is liable for your injuries. However, it’s critical to distinguish the at-fault party as you will have to satisfy the burden of proof. Essentially, you must prove their careless actions were the direct cause of your injuries before you can collect any compensation. In Maryland, private property owners, commercial property owners, and government entities have a legal duty to safeguard passersby by regularly maintaining sidewalks to ensure a safe environment to prevent accidents and injuries. This includes repairing unsafe conditions and providing adequate warnings about potentially dangerous situations. When the appropriate parties fail to uphold their legal obligation to maintain reasonably safe premises, which includes sidewalks adjacent to their property, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur as a direct result of their negligence.
Depending on where a sidewalk is located, the responsibility for maintaining it mainly falls on the local municipality or the property owner. In Maryland, the owner of the adjacent property is responsible for regularly inspecting and maintaining the sidewalk. As a private or commercial property owner, you must exercise reasonable care by fixing any hazardous conditions on the sidewalk to prevent injuries to pedestrians. However, in some cases, a public sidewalk may be considered municipal property. In such instances, if the sidewalk adjoins a public road, the municipality can be held responsible for slips, trips, or falls on their property due to negligence. Ultimately, the city can bear liability for a slip-and-fall accident on a public sidewalk.
Do I have to file a Notice of Claim?
Generally, injured parties have three years from the accident date to file a claim to seek reasonable compensation for their damages. However, if you are pursuing legal action against a government entity, the statute of limitations is much shorter. This is because you will be required to file a Notice of Claim. This legal document must be filed within 90 days of the accident date. Essentially, it informs the municipality you intend to take legal action against before the commencement of a lawsuit that they could be subject to a claim for damages. The primary reason behind the shorter filing deadline is to ensure that the government entity has enough time to investigate the claim to determine its merits. Failing to file your claim within the right time frame will result in the absolute bar of recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident on a public sidewalk, contact a trusted lawyer from the legal team at Timian & Fawcett, LLC, who can help determine whether you have a valid claim against the city.