Do I Have a Case if I Slipped on My Neighbor’s Sidewalk?
Slip and fall accidents happen all the time – not just in the winter. Ice may be one of the more common reasons for slip and fall accidents, but it’s far from the only one. Uneven sidewalks, cracks, small potholes, obstructions, and more can lead to extensive injury if you find yourself in that situation. However, if you find yourself facing a personal injury after having fallen on your neighbor’s sidewalk, your next steps may be unclear. Because we’re all about individuals understanding their options, we wanted to dive a little deeper on this subject, specifically.
Liability and Negligence
Before you call a lawyer, you have to consider the following: in order to have a case, there must be proven negligence that leads to liability. We talk about proving negligence in another blog we wrote on the factors that contribute to slip and fall cases, and those factors remain true here. However, when your injury comes as the result of slipping and falling on your neighbor’s sidewalk, there are some other factors to consider.
First and foremost, it’s important to establish ownership. Sometimes, though the sidewalk is outside of your neighbor’s house, it doesn’t actually belong to your neighbor. In fact, in a lot of cases, sidewalks are considered public property. If that’s the case in your situation, you have to then determine what your options are as it pertains to suing the municipality.
And that’s where things start to get a little tricky. The rules for who is responsible for maintaining a public sidewalk outside of a private property vary greatly from city to city. In some cases, the property owner has 24 hours to clear the sidewalks for which they are responsible after snowfall. However, determining whether or not the individual property owner truly is responsible for the sidewalk can be another issue entirely. If the private property owner (I.e. your neighbor in this case) is not responsible, you may have to take your case up with the municipality itself. In that case, you may be facing specific limitations set forth by the municipality. Often, those limitations amount to two categories: time after an accident you are allowed to report and potentially seek compensation, and amount of compensation you are allowed to seek.
In Colorado, you have only 180 days after the day you were injured to file a personal injury claim against a government institution, whereas the statute for non-government entities is two years.
As with most legal situations, an in-depth understanding of the laws in Colorado and specific municipalities is critical to achieving the results you deserve and receiving compensation to get your life back on track. While it may seem like a slip and fall injury couldn’t possibly cause serious life-changing circumstances, it happens far more often than you might think. In fact, slip and fall injuries are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the United States. TBIs can require massive life changes, loss of job and income, and the need to modify your home and daily life. If you’re suffering from a TBI or any injury after slipping and falling on a sidewalk – public or private – call us today. You deserve to know what your options are, and you deserve the help you need to get back to living your life.