Whether you’re on a health journey or taking the dog for their daily walk, sidewalks help keep you safe from passing motorists. However, the last thing you expect is for the sidewalk to be the hazard that leads to an injury! These injuries can happen, so knowing how to proceed is critical to ensuring you receive the justice you deserve for any damages you’ve sustained. The following blog explores who can be held liable for the harm you endure on a public sidewalk with the help of a Houston sidewalk accident lawyer.
How Can a Public Sidewalk Be Dangerous?
Though sidewalks may not seem like they pose harm to pedestrians, it is possible for those walking on these surfaces to sustain injuries. In general, injuries can occur as a result of the following:
- Improperly installed sidewalks
- Uneven slabs
- Tree roots
- Cracked or chipped surfaces
- Sidewalks with large holes in them
Unfortunately, someone walking can slip, trip, and fall because of the hazard. As such, the injured party can sustain a number of injuries. These include traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal cord damage, fractures, sprains, dental issues, disfigurement, and lacerations.
What Should I Do Following an Injury?
When injured on a public sidewalk, understanding what to do following an injury is crucial. In general, the first thing you should do is contact emergency services to request medical attention for the injuries you’ve endured. If you do not feel like your injuries warrant a trip to the hospital, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. However, it’s in your best interest to seek immediate medical treatment.
Additionally, if you are physically able to, you’ll want to photograph the scene of the accident to capture the hazard that caused your injury. This can provide valuable evidence to help support your claims of negligence if you pursue compensation.
Can the Government Face Liability?
Generally, the government owns the public sidewalks in Texas. Privately owned sidewalks are those inside private properties, and they have a different procedure for liability. However, if you are walking on a sidewalk in a residential or commercial area, odds are the city owns it. As such, if you are injured, the government can be held responsible for any injuries endured.
If you wish to pursue a lawsuit against the government for injuries you sustained on a public sidewalk, you must first file a Notice of Claim. This essentially informs the municipality responsible for maintaining the sidewalk that you intend to seek compensation for their negligence. However, you must file this within 180 days of your injury. Failure to do so means you will not be able to sue.
When hurt due to the negligence of a municipality, pursuing compensation can be challenging. At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand how stressful these times can be. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you through these complex times with as much ease as possible. Contact our firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.