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Sidewalk Injuries & Accidents

Do slip and fall accidents happen on California sidewalks? Although many Los Angeles residents are more accustomed to driving than walking, sidewalks are very popular in numerous parts of the city, and they help to keep pedestrians safe. To be sure, A fact sheet from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) emphasizes that “sidewalks provide many benefits including safety, mobility, and healthier communities.” By and large, sidewalks prevent pedestrians from having to walk on the road. This, in turn, prevents automobile accidents involving pedestrians. Indeed, the FHWA facts sheet highlights how “roadways without sidewalks are more than twice as likely to have pedestrian crashes as sites with sidewalks on both sides of the street.”

In other words, sidewalks have many benefits for pedestrians. At the same time, sidewalks can also be sites where slip and fall accidents occur. Whether you are walking on a sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles or in Santa Monica, you should not have to worry about a slip, trip, and fall accident resulting from a damaged walkway. If you sustained injuries in a sidewalk accident, a Los Angeles slip and fall accident lawyer may be able to help.

How Do Sidewalks Accidents Happen?

No one expects to get hurt when they are walking on a sidewalk. Generally speaking, however, sidewalks accident tend to occur either when:

  • A pedestrian gets hurt in a slip, trip, or fall accident on the sidewalk; or
  • A motor vehicle driver collides with the pedestrian after driving up onto the sidewalk.

In the first type of accident, the injured party may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit if the sidewalk’s poor condition caused the slip and fall accident. To be clear, the owner of the sidewalk (usually the city) is responsible for upkeep and ensuring that there are no hazards present that could cause serious harm. When a pedestrian gets hurt on a sidewalk after being involved in a collision with a car driver, it is possible that the motor vehicle driver’s negligence caused the crash, and the injured party may be able to file a car accident claim.

Types of Injuries in Sidewalks Accidents

While injuries can vary in their type and severity depending upon what causes a sidewalk accident, common injuries include but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones or fractures;
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
  • Spinal cord injuries and other neck injuries;
  • Back injuries;
  • Strains and sprains;
  • Bruises; and
  • Cuts and lacerations.

At Fisher & Talwar we regularly assist clients who have been injured in sidewalk accidents, and we can speak with you about your case.

Did Another Party’s Negligence Cause Your Injuries?

If you got hurt in a sidewalk accident and want to file a claim for compensation, you will need to be able to show that another party’s negligence resulted in the accident that caused your injuries. In some sidewalk accident cases, especially slips and falls, the injured party’s own negligence might have caused the accident.

For instance, if there was not anything wrong with the sidewalk but the pedestrian’s own negligence caused the accident, it may be impossible to recover anything by filing a claim. To clarify, a plaintiff must be able to show that the other party was negligent.

Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit

In the event that an injured party argues that her accident and injuries resulted from a poorly maintained sidewalk, she will want to file a premises liability lawsuit. To win a premises liability claim, the California Civil Jury Instructions for premises liability require the plaintiff to provide the following:

  • Defendant owned, leased, occupied, or otherwise controlled the property;
  • Defendant was negligent in its use or maintenance of the property;
  • Plaintiff was harmed; and
  • Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.

A successful plaintiff must prove all four elements. What is necessary to prove that the defendant was negligent in the way it used or maintained the property? California law requires a plaintiff to “use reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition.” This also requires a property owner to “use reasonable care to discover any unsafe conditions and to repair, replace, or give adequate warning of anything that could be reasonably expected to harm others.”

Keep in mind that, if you are filing a premises liability lawsuit, the defendant may be the government (for example, the City of Los Angeles). The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against a government agency is only six months. This means that, if you are filing a claim against a government agency for your injuries, then you only have six months from the date of the accident. If you are filing a personal injury claim against an individual, the statute of limitations is two years.

Filing a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit

What if your sidewalk accident occurred because of a motor vehicle driver’s negligence? To recover in a car accident lawsuit, a plaintiff must be able to show the following essential factual elements of a negligence claim:

1. Defendant was negligent;
2. Plaintiff was harmed; and
3. Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.

To win a case, a plaintiff must prove all three elements. What does it take to prove that a defendant was negligent? The plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to “use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.” California law makes clear that “a person is negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.”

According to a recent report from NPR, distracted driving has caused many dangerous accidents in recent years, including pedestrian accidents. If a driver is distracted and causes an accident, she or he can be liable for resulting injuries. When you file a claim against a negligent driver, you must do so within two years from the date of the accident, or else you can lose your right to seek compensation.

Contact a Sidewalk Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Did you get hurt in a sidewalk accident in the Los Angeles area? An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help with your case. Contact Fisher & Talwar today for more information about filing a claim for financial compensation.