Sidewalks are commonly viewed as open public domain, so if you suffer an injury while on a sidewalk, who is the responsible party? It could be the driver that veered off the road and hit you, the store owner who didn’t clear snow after a storm, or the municipality that failed to make proper repairs. Here are the key pieces of information you need to know in order to properly pursue a sidewalk injury claim against the correct parties.
An Introduction to Sidewalk Liability
Any personal injury case must be rooted in negligence. If you believe you have suffered a personal injury on a sidewalk, liability of a certain person or party must be established using the following elements:
- The property owner of the relevant section of the sidewalk owed you a duty of care
- The property owner of the relevant section of sidewalk breached his duty of care
- The property owner’s breach of duty directly caused your injury
- Your injury has led to unexpected costs, pain, and suffering
How to Identify the Property Owner of the Sidewalk
The most common property owners responsible for sidewalks are business owners, landlords, cities, and municipalities. Responsibility falls to the business owner if the business owns the building and land surrounding the building. It is most common for businesses to lease their space directly from a landlord, however, and the landlord holds the responsibility to maintain sidewalk safety- unless otherwise specified in the lease to the business.
When neither the business nor the landlord are responsible, sidewalk ownership falls to the town, city, or municipality in question. Strip malls and busy downtown business strips are often maintained by larger municipalities instead of individual businesses. It can be difficult to determine the true responsibly party individually, which is why you need the help of a personal injury attorney.
How to File a Personal Injury Sidewalk Claim
The first step to filing a personal injury claim is finding a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process. The realm of law is complex; only your attorney knows how to navigate the legal maze to get the results you want.
Once you team up with an attorney, you will collect evidence and documentation, begin litigation, defend your claim, and pursue compensation for your injury costs. An experienced attorney knows exactly how to collect and harness your evidence to help you secure a large compensation. Call (843) 279-2510 to schedule your free personal injury consultation with the Law offices of N. David DuRant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.