As winter is quickly approaching, slip and fall injuries due to icy sidewalks are bound to occur. Although you may think that sidewalks are the responsibility of a city or local government, it may actually be your responsibility to keep them safe.
If you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk can you file a lawsuit?
Can You Sue Local Government?
Depending on the local law, your local government may be responsible for reasonably maintaining sidewalks in your town or municipality, since it falls under their property. If the government is negligent in failing to salt and/or plow sidewalks, they can be held accountable.
The first step you will need to take in order to pursue a claim against your local, state or federal government is to file a notice of claim with the government agency. In most cases, this gives them three to six months to respond to your injury claim.
Should the government fail to respond, settle or take responsibility for your injury, you can then file a lawsuit against that government entity for your damages.
Can You Sue Private Property Owners?
Residential as well as commercial property owners can be sued for icy sidewalks, which are under their control. Both residential and commercial property owners have the responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep the sidewalks safe, although the law treats business visitors slightly differently than residential guests. It may be completely reasonable to inspect and/or keep the sidewalks clear of dangerous ice, depending on the circumstances.
The property owner, whether government or otherwise, may try to claim that you were trespassing or had no consent to be on the icy sidewalk. Also, the property owner may try to claim that you were acting negligently when you injured yourself on the icy sidewalk.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our experienced Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) to discuss your options.