If you were injured because of a broken or unsafe sidewalk condition in St. Petersburg, you may be entitled to compensation from the party responsible for your accident. But who can be held liable?
The experienced St. Petersburg broken sidewalk accident lawyers from Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys can investigate your claim and determine all potential paths of compensation. Contact us today to arrange your free, confidential case review at (727) 933-0015.
How Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help You Obtain Compensation
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys is comprised of award-winning personal injury lawyers who have more than 25 years of experience and a track record of success. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Our St. Petersburg premises liability lawyers can help with your case by:
- Investigating the accident
- Identifying all at-fault parties
- Advising you of your legal rights and options
- Ensuring that you meet all necessary deadlines
- Negotiating a fair settlement for your claim
We are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today in St. Petersburg, FL to get started with forming an attorney-client relationship.
Common Causes of Sidewalk Injuries
When sidewalks are not kept in a safe condition, people can be injured as a result. Common causes of sidewalk injuries include:
- Cracked sidewalks
- Broken sidewalks
- Loose slab
- Missing slabs
- Improper repairs
- Difference in height between sidewalk slabs
- Tree roots
- Water retention
- Debris on the sidewalk
- Mud, gravel, or other substances on the ground
Figuring out what caused the accident is the first step to recovering compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
Who Is Responsible for Sidewalks in Florida?
Sidewalk injury cases can be more complicated than other types of premises liability cases because it may not be immediately apparent who is responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk. Depending on the circumstances, liability for sidewalk accidents could be due to or affected by the following:
Cities and Municipalities
Generally, cities and municipalities are tasked with maintaining sidewalks. If a sidewalk under its management has become a safety hazard and you tripped on it, you may be able to make a claim against the city or municipality responsible for the sidewalk.
Local ordinances may delegate the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks to others. For example, a city might pass a local ordinance that grants a private right of action against property owners for poorly maintained sidewalks that cause injury. Many cities have ordinances that say property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks that abut their property and for replacing sidewalks that cannot be repaired.
In some situations, the property owner whose property is adjacent to the sidewalk may be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. For example, an HOA or business may be responsible for the sidewalk and liable if someone is injured on the sidewalk.
Control of the Property
In some situations, someone else may become responsible for maintaining the sidewalk after they have taken some initial action to exercise control over it. For example, if the abutting property owner alters the sidewalk to benefit themselves, they may form the foundation of a duty to protect pedestrians from possible injury on the sidewalk, even if they otherwise would not have been responsible for the sidewalk per a local ordinance. Control over a sidewalk may take the form of:
- Installing a sidewalk ramp
- Mowing and watering a grass strip between the sidewalk and street
- Trying to attempt to fix a hole caused in the sidewalk after the city removed a tree
- Planting a tree
Due to these technical deviations, sidewalk injury claims can be complex, so having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can be extremely beneficial.
Sometimes, a property owner may assume liability for the condition of the adjoining sidewalk due to a provision in a lease. The lease may state that lessee has the duty to maintain the sidewalk and may be responsible for paying for any legal costs associated with defending an action against the property owner due to the failure to maintain the sidewalk.
What To Do After a Sidewalk Accident
If you were injured in a sidewalk accident, you can take the following steps:
- Seek prompt medical attention
- Take pictures of the unsafe condition on the property
- Ask witnesses for their contact information
- Keep track of all of your expenses related to the injury
- Avoid posting anything on social media while your case is pending
Finally, contact an experienced lawyer for help.
How Long Do I Have to File a Sidewalk Injury Claim?
Florida law generally provides two years to file a lawsuit against a party due to negligence (as of March 24, 2023 — prior to that date, negligence cases typically had a four-year statute of limitations). However, in cases involving sidewalk injuries, you may have less time if the case names a city or municipality as the defendant. Also, in these cases, you must file a notice of claim with the city.
Contact Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys for Help with Your Claim
If you were injured in a broken sidewalk accident in St. Petersburg, Florida, Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys is here to help. Contact us today for your free consultation.