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SIDEWALK DANGERS: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY TRIP AND FALL?As a City ages, and its trees mature, a common problem that can arise upon public sidewalks is a lift or protrusion to some portion of the slab that can cause or contribute to a fall incident.  Many times, roots from nearby trees are to blame, but there are many other possible causes including improper slab depth (how thick the concrete slab was poured), water damage, or poor or improper repairs.

Unfortunately, some of these types of incidents can cause catastrophic injuries for unsuspecting citizens going about their activities of daily living, including broken bones, facial injuries, surgery, and permanent disability.  In situations like this, it is important to cast a wide net when investigating whether any person or organization had involvement in creating the dangerous condition that led to the injury.

Pursuant to California Streets and Highways Code, Section 5610, those owning property along or next to a sidewalk may be responsible for injuries that occur on the sidewalk.  That code section states:

“The owners of lots or portions of lots fronting on any portion of a public street or place when that street or place is improved or if and when the area between the property line of the adjacent property and the street line is maintained as a park or parking strip, shall maintain any sidewalk in such condition that the sidewalk will not endanger persons or property and maintain it in a condition which will not interfere with the public convenience in the use of those works or areas….”

In other situations, the local municipality (City, County, etc.) may be partially responsible for these types of fall injuries, for example, where a City employee created the dangerous condition on the sidewalk, or where the City knew of but failed to do anything about a dangerous condition that caused an injury.

An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts of the incident and investigate the potential liability of various potential defendants.  If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a fall, give Heiting & Irwin a call and speak with a licensed attorney today!

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