Sean Lopez | June 13, 2022 | Slip & Fall Accidents
Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk in St. Petersburg?
Pedestrians use sidewalks throughout St. Petersburg for walking, jogging, and running. It is common to see people using sidewalks in parks, neighborhoods, and downtown.
Most of the sidewalks in the city are in good condition. However, some sidewalks are cracked, broken, or uneven. Who is responsible for injuries caused by falls on a sidewalk in St. Petersburg?
Who Is Liable for Sidewalk Accidents in Florida?
Generally, the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk can be held liable if someone falls and is injured on an unsafe sidewalk. Potential sidewalk conditions that are unsafe and could result in a fall include:
- Cracked pavement
- Uneven sidewalks
- Tree roots breaking through the surface
- Substances causing slippery surfaces, such as mossy vegetation, excessive mud, gravel, etc.
- Debris covering the sidewalk
Parties that could be held liable for sidewalk falls include residential property owners, businesses, and government agencies. A personal injury lawyer investigates your accident to identify the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. An attorney also gathers evidence proving negligence.
Proving Fault for a Sidewalk Accident in St. Petersburg
You have the burden of proving a party’s negligence caused your sidewalk injury. The elements of a negligence claim are:
- Duty – The other party owed you a duty of care
- Breach of Duty – The other party breached the duty of care
- Causation – The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your sidewalk injury
- Damages – You sustained damages because of the breach of duty
Negligence is the failure to act with a level of care that a reasonably prudent person would have used given the same circumstances. In a premises liability case for a sidewalk accident, you need to prove that:
- A dangerous situation existed
- The owner knew or should have reasonably known about the hazard or danger
- The owner failed to remedy the danger or provide adequate warning of the hazard
If you prove that the property owner was negligent, you can recover compensation for your injuries and damages. However, if you are partially at fault for the cause of the sidewalk injury, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault under Florida’s contributory fault laws.
What Compensation Could I Receive After a Fall on a Sidewalk?
The types of damages you could recover include:
- Past and future cost of medical treatment
- Loss of income and benefits
- Cost of in-home and long-term nursing care and/or personal care
- Diminished earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Decreased quality of life
- Disabilities and impairments
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
Careful documentation of damages is crucial. You must have documentation proving your damages to receive compensation. Your personal injury attorney helps you document damages, including working with medical experts to document the severity of your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Sidewalk Accident Claim?
The Florida statute of limitations for most personal injury cases caused by negligence is four years from the injury date. However, there are exceptions to the rule.
If you sue a government entity, you must file a notice of claim before filing a lawsuit. If the government entity denies your claim, you have three years from the injury date to file a lawsuit.
Because other factors could shorten the filing deadline for claims, it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after any personal injury or accident.
What Should I Do After a Sidewalk Accident?
After a fall, the steps you take can improve your chance of recovering fair compensation for your injury. Therefore, if you slip or trip on a sidewalk and fall, you should:
- Take photographs of the hazard that caused you to fall. Also, take photographs of your injuries.
- If anyone saw you fall or came to your assistance, ask that person for their name and contact information.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. You need documentation that your fall caused an injury.
- Carefully document your damages by keeping track of all expenses and costs related to the sidewalk accident.
- Avoid using social media during your personal injury case. The information posted online is not private and could be used against you.
It is best not to sign documents regarding your accident until you consult with a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer. An attorney investigates the cause of your sidewalk accident, identifies the liable parties, calculates the value of damages, and files claims and lawsuits seeking compensation.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Law Firm – Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
Contact a St. Petersburg slip and fall attorney at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701