Seattle Street Slip & Fall Lawyer
Tripping on a sidewalk is a fairly common occurrence in the Seattle area. In many cases, such falls do not lead to serious injuries. But in those cases that do, the public or private property owner responsible for maintaining that sidewalk may be liable for monetary damages.
As with any trip and fall, a sidewalk accident can cause fairly significant injuries to an unwitting victim. That is why Washington State has laws in place to compensate accident victims for the negligent acts of property owners. If you are such a victim and need to consult with a qualified Seattle street slip & fall lawyer, the attorneys at the Emerald Law Group are here to help.
Municipalities and Private Property Owners Can Be Held Responsible for Improper Street and Sidewalk Maintenance
Washington State gives its cities and towns the authority to build, maintain, and replace their own sidewalks. These municipalities may also share these costs with property owners whose premises are next to the sidewalks. This means that both the city and property owners are legally required to keep their respective sidewalks clear and reasonably safe for the public’s use.
But as we all know, public sidewalks are not always kept in the best condition. Some of the more common hazards and defects that can lead to a sidewalk fall include:
- cracks in the pavement;
- uneven surfaces;
- improper lighting;
- snow, ice, or debris following a storm;
- overgrown weeds and damage from exposed tree roots; or
- lack of barriers or signage to indicate existing hazards.
Just because a sidewalk hazard exists, that does not mean the municipality or property owner is automatically responsible for any injuries that occur. Legally speaking, the burden or proof is always on the injury victim to show that the defendant was negligent. In the context of a sidewalk fall, that means proving the city, town, or property owner knew about a sidewalk hazard–or should have known through the exercise of reasonable care–and failed to take appropriate action to correct the problem. Even then, the municipality or property owner can turn around and try and shift the blame to you, such as by arguing “you weren’t paying attention” or that the hazard itself was “open and obvious.”
This is one reason it is important to work with a Washington personal injury lawyer who has experience in dealing with sidewalk fall cases. These claims are never as simple as you might think, especially when dealing with a sidewalk maintained by a local government. There are special rules governing tort claims against the state and its municipalities, and if these rules are not followed to the letter, then your claim for damages may be dismissed even before you can present your case to a jury.
Contact Emerald Law Group Today
A city sidewalk fall can cause serious injuries that leave you with thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. So when a municipality or property owner’s negligence led to your fall, you have the right to demand compensation for these and other losses. If you need to speak with a skilled Seattle street fall lawyer, contact the Emerald Law Group today to schedule an initial consultation.