Can I sue the city for an unsafe sidewalk?

As the summer transitions to fall, pedestrians continue to choose walking as their mode of transportation. Many people find that walking is a safer alternative to driving. However, walking has unique risks, as pedestrians can become injured due to several dangerous conditions, including unsafe sidewalks. Sidewalks were designed to give pedestrians a path to navigate the roadways safely. Severe accidents and injuries can occur when property owners fail to exercise reasonable care. In such cases, pedestrians often wonder whether they can take legal action against the city for damages caused by an unsafe sidewalk. Please continue reading to learn whether you can pursue legal action against a government entity for an unsafe sidewalk. In addition, contact a determined Washington, D.C., Sidewalk Accident Lawyer who can help you hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. 

Can municipalities be held liable for an unsafe sidewalk?

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their sidewalks are well-maintained, meaning they must remedy any hazardous conditions to prevent serious pedestrian injuries. If they fail to uphold their legal duty, they can be held liable for any damages resulting from their negligence. Government entities regularly monitor and inspect walking surfaces for dangerous conditions threatening passersby. Ultimately, municipalities must ensure that their sidewalks are safe for pedestrians.

To establish that the municipality owed a duty, making them liable, you must prove that they created the unsafe condition that caused your injuries or that they should have reasonably known the state and the danger it poses yet did nothing to remedy the premises. It is critical to note that property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks adjacent to their premises. Therefore, you must prove to the court that the property owner had notice of the defect or hazardous condition, making them responsible for your injuries as they did not properly maintain their premises.

How long do I have to take legal action?

If you want to pursue legal action against the D.C. government, it is imperative to understand that filing a claim against municipalities usually involves stricter guidelines. As such, the statute of limitations is much shorter, as you are required to file a Notice of Claim. Essentially, a Notice of Claim letter provides advanced notice to government entities before the commencement of a lawsuit that they may be subject to a claim for damages. A Notice of Claim must contain information such as the incident’s date, time, and location, as well as the cause of the damage of injury and circumstances under which the injuries were sustained. A Notice of Claim must be filed within six months of the date of the incident. If you fail to file your claim within this timeframe, you will relinquish your right to take legal action in the future.

If you have been injured due to an unsafe sidewalk, contact a knowledgeable premises liability attorney from the Trombly & Singer, PLLC law firm, who can help ensure you file your claim within the right time frame. Our firm is prepared to help you fight to obtain the just compensation you may be entitled to.