When a trip or slip and fall accident occurs on a public sidewalk, it may be hard to determine who is at fault. Sometimes weather degrades pavement, creating uneven surfaces, or debris may be left in the middle of a walkway, creating hazards for pedestrians. A municipality, private party, or both may be responsible for failing to keep a sidewalk safe, depending on its ownership as well as the actions taken when a sidewalk accident occurs. The Port St. Lucie sidewalk accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help victims determine who is at fault for their injuries and which legal options are available to pursue. Sidewalk accidents can lead to significant, even life-altering injuries, leaving victims in need of financial assistance for medical bills and other accident-related costs. If you or a loved one has been injured while on a sidewalk, contact our office today to discuss your legal options and learn more about our services.Circumstances Indicating Negligence in Sidewalk Accidents
Many factors may be involved in leading to a sidewalk accident. Depending on the circumstances, one or multiple parties could be found liable for the injuries that victims sustain. Common issues indicating that negligence might have caused a sidewalk accident include:
- Construction flaws, including in the materials used, weather-protection measures, and topographical research.
- Concrete that has been poured incorrectly.
- Time or weather causing cracks or holes to form in the pavement.
- Overgrown roots creating hazards in the sidewalk.
Victims who fall as a result of any of these conditions may sustain significant injuries, such as broken bones, spinal cord damage, and head or brain injuries. These types of injuries may require lengthy treatments and time spent away from work. For these reasons, victims may need financial assistance above the amount that any insurance policies allow. Our sidewalk accident attorneys can assist Port St. Lucie residents in these circumstances.Claims Against Parties Liable for Sidewalk Accident Injuries
Individuals are expected to be mindful of where they are walking in order to avoid an open and obvious hazard in their path. However, when dangers are not as apparent, and a person or entity has failed to use reasonable measures to properly construct or adequately maintain property in a safe manner, leading to injuries, the parties responsible should be held legally liable. This includes the upkeep of streets as well as sidewalks.
The responsibility for the maintenance of a sidewalk may lie either with a developer, a nearby property owner, or a governmental entity, depending on local ordinances. Generally, this responsibility falls on a municipality, which has a duty to use reasonable measures to ensure that sidewalks are safe for pedestrians. When that duty is not met, victims may have legal recourse in a premises liability lawsuit. A Port St. Lucie sidewalk accident attorney at our firm can advise them on the claims that they may be able to assert.
Claims against a governmental entity may be more complex than filing against a private party. For instance, in Florida, the statute of limitations for cases against a municipality is three years, whereas victims have four years in which to file claims against a private individual. Additionally, victims must file an initial “notice of claim” with the Florida Department of Financial Services before filing a formal lawsuit. If liability is established, victims may be awarded compensation for past and future medical costs, diminished earning capacity, loss of income, and pain and suffering damages, depending on the extent of their injuries.Meet with a Knowledgeable Sidewalk Accident Lawyer in Port St. Lucie
Although most falls do not seem very severe, some can lead to significant, permanent injuries, especially when a victim is elderly or a child. When another person or entity has failed to keep a sidewalk safe, they should be held accountable for the harm caused. The premises liability lawyers at Donaldson & Weston help victims determine which legal options may be available, and we zealously represent their best interests throughout the litigation. Our firm assists victims in Stuart, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter, as well as across Martin, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach Counties. If you have sustained an injury in a sidewalk accident, call our office at (772) 266-5555 or contact us online to set up a risk-free, no-cost consultation to find out more about how we can help.