At first blush, sidewalk injuries don’t sound very likely. After all, the whole point of the sidewalk is to keep pedestrians safely out of the flow of traffic.
In truth, however, poorly maintained, constructed, and designed sidewalks lead to serious injuries each year. When a local government fails to provide a proper walking surface, it’s easy for individuals to trip, fall, and break bones. Further, those broken surfaces cause serious bicycle wrecks. Sometimes, sidewalk injuries cause permanent disability.
Liability for a sidewalk injury often belongs to city government, because pursuant to state law, each city is responsible for providing both safe city roadways and safe city sidewalks. Unfortunately, in recent years, some cities have tried to shirk this responsibility by passing ordinances that require homeowners to keep the sidewalk in front of their homes safe. These ordinances have met with only limited success, however, and in most cases, the city is still deemed responsible for a sidewalk injury. Of course, a trusted attorney will be able to tell you whether or not your case is credible.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a sidewalk trip and fall or a sidewalk bicycle crash, the first thing to do is get medical care. Once you’re sure the injured person’s condition is stable, talk to The Stoddard Firm.
We have years of experience winning successful lawsuits against city governments for sidewalk injuries. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.
The Broken Sidewalk Problems Plaguing Atlanta
There are plenty of examples of how these sidewalk injuries happen. One article from the Saporta Report highlights the challenges of Atlanta residents who rely on wheelchairs. The piece specifically references the area surrounding the Shepherd Center, though its worth noting that these problems are common across the city. Cracked, broken surfaces, poorly marked crosswalks and inaccessible sidewalks are just a few of the many obstacles around the city.
One advocacy group says that the backlog of repairs needed to fix Atlanta’s broken sidewalks would cost more than $200 million. The city has placed some of those costs on people who own property adjacent to the busted sidewalks, which has only added to the anger felt by many residents. While the city has done far too little to address the problem, the conditions of the sidewalks keep deteriorating, further placing all road users at risk for serious injury. Until the City of Atlanta chooses to properly repair its city sidewalk, the poor conditions will continue.
What are the Causes of Sidewalk Injuries?
In general, sidewalk injuries are caused by poorly maintained sidewalks, but there are several other causes that can often contribute to sidewalk injuries.
Cracks in the pavement, potholes, uneven pavement, and other problems with the construction of the sidewalk can often contribute to trip and fall injuries. Other factors, such as improperly installed storm water sewer grates can cause bicycle tires to get stuck resulting in a serious bicycle wreck injuries.
In addition, careless planning or poor care and maintenance can contribute to a serious injury. This can happen when large plants (especially trees) extend their roots into the sidewalk area. Poorly planned or laid-out sidewalks can be a cause of injury, as can poor construction—such as uneven pavement. In all these cases, a sidewalk injury can (and often will) occur.
What Types of Injuries Occur?
Sidewalk injuries have the potential to be extremely serious in nature. Broken bones are not uncommon, leading to an emergency room trip at best and open reduction internal fixation surgeries or permanent disability at worst. Some of the bones most likely to be broken in a sidewalk injury include the hip, the femur, and the bones of the wrists, arms, and shoulders.
In addition, it is not unheard of for individuals to suffer serious spinal and skull injuries as a result of a sidewalk trip and fall. These can range from relatively minor concussions all the way up to skull fractures and permanent damage to the spinal cord. This type of injury can be permanently disabling, and in addition it can create catastrophic medical costs far beyond the means of most families.
Many sidewalk injuries have the potential to cause an individual to lose the ability to work for a time. Lost productivity may cause a serious financial burden to a family.
Who is Responsible for Sidewalk Injuries?
If you’ve been injured on the sidewalk, the first question is whether anyone is liable for it. In a personal injury case, your lawyer must be able to prove that some party had a responsibility to take reasonable care of the sidewalk, that the responsible party knew or should have known of a sidewalk problem, and that the responsibility party failed to fix that problem.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured through someone else’s neglect or negligence, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us or contact us online today.
Tell us about your concern and request a free, no obligation, confidential legal consultation.
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