Inadequately Maintained Sidewalks: The Danger of Unmarked Pedestrian Hazards
As you may know, we have represented a number of families who have seen a loved one injured in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall incident. These types of cases can be very serious as the falls typically occur in a split-second when the victim has no opportunity to regain their balance.
Even though there are strict safety rules about how walking surfaces must be maintained, these rules are frequently disregarded by property owners who do not wish to pay for the necessary safety measures. For example, the most current building safety codes require that any change of elevation greater than 0.25 inches on any walking surface must either be repaired or marked so that pedestrians are adequately warned about the elevation change. However, many property owners or municipal governments simply try to avoid paying for the necessary repairs and gamble that no one will be injured.
When we were contacted by our client who tripped over this stretch of sidewalk, we decided that we needed to hire an expert in pedestrian safety to conduct an inspection of the area. What he determined was that the change in elevation where our client fell was greater than 1.5 inches or SIX TIMES the allowable height under the applicable safety regulations. While the picture may not seem like much, the perspective from the ground level shows how just how dangerous this change in elevation can be:
Moreover, our investigation into the case revealed that the sidewalk at this location had been in disrepair for over six years and the responsible property owner had done nothing to correct the defect. Accordingly, through the combination of our investigative work and the work of our experts in pedestrian safety, we were able to obtain a significant recovery for our client, who had sustained a serious wrist fracture that required two surgeries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a similar situation, please do not hesitate to give us a call to see if we can obtain fair compensation on your behalf.