Choosing the Right Attorney for a Sidewalk Accident Claim

When you think of the dangers that threaten your safety and way of life, you might think about drunk motorists, random violence, pharmaceuticals, or international terrorism. The quiet sidewalks in front of your home and throughout your town may not rank high on the list of dangers, but many thousands of people are killed or injured on sidewalks each year, due to numerous causes, including:

  • Collisions with bicycles, runners, or automobiles
  • Falling debris from nearby construction sites or worksites
  • Slips and falls from improperly maintained sidewalks during winter weather
  • Injuries from collisions with objects on the sidewalk
  • Bites or attacks from animals on the sidewalk or nearby yards

Such injuries can be devastating, resulting in loss of work, high medical bills, pain and suffering, and even death. Determining who a proper defendant is in a sidewalk accident can be difficult, and successfully recovering from them in court can be even more challenging. Thus it is important for a person injured in a sidewalk accident to find an attorney with the suitable experience and qualifications to pursue a sidewalk accident claim. Below are a few general topics you’ll want to keep in mind as you find the attorney who is right for you.

Who is Responsible for Compensating Injuries from Sidewalk Accidents?

If you have been injured on a sidewalk through the negligent conduct of another party, such as through a collision with a bicyclist or motorist, or through a negligently maintained worksite, then you can always sue that negligent party in court. More challenging legal issues may arise when the maintenance or design of the sidewalk itself comes into question. For example, if a pedestrian is injured on a sidewalk near an icy roadway with no guardrails, the pedestrian may argue that the city negligently designed the sidewalk in such a dangerous area, or failed to properly de-ice the roadway near the sidewalk.

But keep in mind, it is not always a city that is responsible for maintaining a sidewalk. A homeowner may be responsible for clearing snow and debris from a sidewalk, or a homeowner’s association might be responsible for doing so within a condominium complex or gated community. In some cases, multiple entities may be proper defendants.

What Do I Need to Show to Win a Sidewalk Accident Claim?

Determining whether a potential defendant owed a duty to maintain a sidewalk and establishing whether that duty was breached by their failure to maintain the sidewalk can be critical to a sidewalk accident claim, and this process often requires the help of an expert attorney. From there, a plaintiff would need to show that the defendant’s failure to maintain the sidewalk caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

Establishing causation and injuries can be a factually complex process, and a good sidewalk accident attorney will work to reconstruct the accident scene, find witnesses, and prove that your injuries were the result of the defendant’s negligent action. Even where a plaintiff bears some responsibility for his or her injuries (e.g. not wearing proper footwear or not paying attention), a defendant who failed to maintain the sidewalk will often still be required to compensate the victim.

Available compensation includes:

  • Cost of medical bills, including future costs and rehabilitation
  • Missed work due to injuries, and loss of future earning power
  • Emotional damages for pain and suffering endured
  • In some cases, punitive damages for repeated failures to prevent sidewalk injuries
Qualities to Look For in a Sidewalk Accident Attorney

When you’ve been injured in a sidewalk accident, it is important to find an attorney with extensive knowledge of premises liability law and a willingness to take your claim as far as necessary to reach a fair result. Please contact Attorney Client Match to find the attorney who is in the best position to handle your case.

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