Can I Sue the City if I Have a Slip and Fall on a Public Sidewalk?

Slip and falls are both highly common and highly dangerous. A fall can occur for many reasons, among those, uneven pavement or uncleared obstacles like snow. Accidents like these send a large number of people—particularly elders—to the emergency room every year. Though we might think of slip and falls as minor risks involving at worst a twisted ankle, the most intense cases may involve brain injury or even death. If you’re trying to get back on your feet after recovering from a slip and fall, reach out to our Hartford County sidewalk accident attorneys so we can start working to get you the compensation you deserve.

Getting You Up to Speed on Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accidents

If you have a slip and fall on a public sidewalk, you have a right to compensation. The bigger question, however, is whom you’ll need to seek for that recovery.

Many jurisdictions in the United States have ordinances to shift the legal responsibility for maintaining a public sidewalk from authorities to business owners and private residents. In these cases, owners of property next to a sidewalk have a duty of care to maintain the sidewalk and prevent foreseeable injuries. Sometimes, however, you can recover from the municipality.

To recover from a property owner, you need to demonstrate that:

  • The property owner owed a duty of care to tend to the sidewalk,
  • Which the property owner breached by neglecting to remove hazards,
  • And thereby, their negligence caused you as the plaintiff physical injuries and/or financial losses.

In addition to this well-known analysis of premises liability and negligence law, courts may also employ the comparative negligence rule. Should the court find the plaintiff partially responsible for their own injury, the plaintiff’s compensation will decrease by whatever percentage they were at fault.

If you were 20% at fault for an accident that ultimately ended in $10,000 of compensation, that award will decrease to $8,000. If the plaintiff is found 100% at fault for their injury, they will not be able to recover at all.

Lastly, you have a right to recovery from economic and non-economic losses. While economic losses include things such as out-of-pocket medical expenses, non-economic losses would include being able to recover for things like pain and suffering.

Slip and Falls on Public Sidewalks in Connecticut

Several Connecticut municipalities have enacted ordinances that make it the duty of business owners and private residents to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk next to their property. Nevertheless, Connecticut municipalities still have some responsibility for sidewalk maintenance, and it falls on them to fix cracks as well as uneven surfaces, among other hazards.

If your slip and fall occurred as a result of the town or city neglecting this duty, you may be able to recover from the municipality. Before you can, you will need to prove that the town or city was made aware of the hazard and did not fix it or spent unreasonably long trying to fix it.

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