Thousands of people regularly walk to their destinations in Connecticut. Pedestrians in New Haven and elsewhere across the state use sidewalks whenever possible. Most people expect that sidewalks will be safe, especially when compared with walking on the road. Unfortunately, sidewalks can be hazardous in very different ways than the streets in Connecticut. One of the biggest considerations for pedestrian safety on sidewalks is the overall condition of the sidewalk and any maintenance of the property that is overdue.
Sometimes, injured pedestrians will have the option of filing a premises liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against a property owner because they get hurt due to sidewalk maintenance issues. When are owners liable for pedestrian injuries on sidewalks?
When the sidewalk is in poor repair
Most people think of sidewalks as municipal property, but that is not actually true. In New Haven and many other areas, property owners are responsible for the sidewalks adjacent to their real property. Businesses and homeowners alike are responsible for repairing and sometimes even replacing the sidewalk near their properties.
Frost heave, tree roots and even soil settling can all create uneven sections of sidewalk or cause cement to crumble. Sidewalks in poor condition can lead to people tripping and falling. Bad sidewalks can be particularly hazardous for those with mobility limitations who rely on crutches or wheelchairs. Those who get hurt because of uneven or crumbling sidewalks may have grounds to take legal action against the adjacent property owner.
When snow and ice accumulate
Connecticut sees some very frigid winter weather most years, and that weather can affect pedestrian safety on sidewalks. Typically, it is the obligation of property owners to remove snow and ice after precipitation stops. Failing to do so in a timely manner may mean that people get hurt and that the property owner might be liable for the financial implications of those injuries. Winter weather slip-and-falls can cause broken bones and brain injuries, among other significant injuries.
Those hurt due to poorly-maintained or damaged sidewalks sometimes have grounds for a premises liability claim against a property owner. Reviewing local rules with an attorney may help injured pedestrians determine if they have the option of seeking compensation after getting hurt due to dangerous sidewalk.