Can I Sue California for a Slip and Fall on the Sidewalk?
If you are hurt in a slip and fall sidewalk accident in California, who you may sue for your injury depends on local law and the owner of the property. In California, the majority of public sidewalks are maintained by municipalities, but some sidewalks belong to private property owners or companies.
A poorly maintained sidewalk can result in severe and even life-threatening injuries after a slip and fall. The injured person may require extensive medical treatment, lost time from work, and suffer long-term or even permanent impairment.
Liability in a California sidewalk slip and fall case is not always clear initially. A Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer at Ellis Injury Law will determine which parties are liable and fight so you may receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
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Statute of limitations
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury. However, if a government entity is involved, the time limit is considerably shorter.
A personal injury claim against a government entity requires filing within six months of the incident. If the claim is rejected, the claimant has six months from the rejection date to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is not always obvious when a property is owned by a government entity.
That is why anyone harmed in a slip and fall injury should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Slip and fall lawyers will investigate the ownership right away to determine whether a government entity is involved and this tight deadline is required. Waiting too long because you assumed the fall took place on private property can cause you to lose the ability to receive compensation.
Since the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance falls on either a private or public owner, such as the city or county, proving who owns the property is an initial part of the claim.
There are exceptions to sidewalk liability depending on the circumstances. Tree roots tend to uproot sidewalks, resulting in dangerous conditions. However, the owner of the tree, not necessarily the sidewalk owner, is generally liable. Determining who owns a tree can take some time.
The injured party must prove that it was negligence on the part of the city, county, or private owner that caused them to slip and fall. Suppose the fall occurred on a sidewalk with broken pavement or one that was very uneven. The victim’s lawyer must prove that the sidewalk’s condition was unsafe and that the owner should have known about this hazardous condition. They must also show that the public or private owner did not repair the sidewalk within a reasonable timeframe, and the lack of proper repairs led to the injury.
If the sidewalk defect was relatively minor, a court may find it reasonable that the owner made no repairs. Such a defect is considered trivial if the unevenness is less than 1 inch.
Expect the defendant to allege that other factors caused your accident, such as inappropriate footwear or distracted walking. The latter includes walking while texting or otherwise not paying attention.
If possible, take photos at the scene of the accident to serve as evidence. Along with pictures of the sidewalk, record your injuries and the type of shoes or boots worn. If too badly injured to take such photos, ask a family member or friend to go to the scene as soon as possible and photograph the conditions.
Slip and fall damages
Damages in a California slip and fall sidewalk accident may include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Contact a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer
If you were seriously injured in a sidewalk fall, you need the services of an experienced slip & fall attorney at Ellis Injury Law. Complete our online form or call or text us 24/7 to schedule a free consultation.
After evaluating your claim, we will discuss your options. If you have grounds for a slip and fall claim, a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can take your case on a contingency basis. That means you pay no fee unless you receive compensation.
Our dedicated lawyers have recovered more than $350 million for injured clients in lawsuits and verdicts.