Sidewalks are supposed to be safe places to walk for pedestrians, but what if a damaged sidewalk causes a serious injury? Sidewalks may have holes, cracks, or large tree roots sprouting through them that can pose a threat to walkers.
If you’ve fallen on a sidewalk and been injured in Missouri, you may want answers to why the sidewalk was in bad shape and whether it was due to negligence — and you may want or need someone to be held responsible for you injury.
But, if you’re injured on public property like a sidewalk, your case may be made pretty difficult by the law. According an article from Nolo, the fact that a sidewalk was in a condition that caused you to slip and fall doesn’t mean that the municipality was negligent.
There are limitations on an injured person’s right to sue a municipality in most states, and that is important to be aware of if you have been injured. Most states have strict notice and time deadlines for making a personal injury claim against a municipality.
This time restriction is often very short: in as little as 30 days, you must notify the proper department of the city or town in writing of the exact location and all the details of your accident and injury.
In addition to this, you have to make sure you are making a claim against the right government entity. The article gives a perfect example: If you fall on a broken sidewalk on a city street that goes over a state highway, you may give notice to the city only since it was a city street.
But, if state law holds the state highway department responsible for caring for roads that go over highways, the city will not be liable. As you may be able to tell, a slip and fall case like this takes a thorough knowledge of state laws.
Time isn’t the only thing that is limited in this case: the amount of damages you receive if you do get a settlement is limited from state to state, and can be lower than $100,000.
If you’ve ever paid the medical bills for a serious injury, then you know this is not very much money in comparison.
If you have been injured on a public sidewalk in St. Louis, Missouri because of a slip and fall that you believe was caused by the city’s negligence, the first thing you should do is take pictures of the accident scene, your clothes, and your injuries. Documenting the scene is crucial if you plan on filing a complaint.
The second thing you should do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with these types of cases. A lawyer will be able to gather a history of complaints the municipality has received about the defective sidewalk, and will know the ins and outs of the Missouri state law surround this type of injury.
If you have questions about a slip and fall injury on a sidewalk, contact us at the Finney Law Office, LLC and we will do our best to answer your questions.