If I Slip and Fall on a Public Sidewalk, Can I Recover Anything for My Injuries?

public sidewalk full of cracks

Slip and fall accidents can result in moderate to severe injuries. Such injuries may include broken or fractured bones, as well as head injuries. While slip and fall accidents often occur on private property, such as business premises, these accidents can also occur in public areas, such as a sidewalk in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida. If you slip and fall on a public sidewalk due to hazardous conditions and suffer injuries as a result, you may have the right to recover damages for your injuries. In order to recover damages, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. Bearing the “burden of proof” means that the victim must prove that the owner, the local municipality, or custodian of the sidewalk (usually a government entity responsible for maintaining a public sidewalk) was:

1) aware, or should have been aware, of the hazardous condition; and

2) that they failed to take reasonable steps to repair or warn any pedestrians walking about the hazard.

What if there is a Business Near the Public Sidewalk Where I Slipped and Fell?

For the most part, in Florida, local laws may determine whether a public entity, such as a municipality, may be held liable for an accident that occurred on public property. Situations where a property owner may share liability with the public entity responsible for maintaining the property, like a sidewalk, occur when the property owner made alterations to the property that rendered it hazardous. In these cases, both the property owner and the municipality may be sued.

What Damages Can I Recover if I Had a Slip and Fall Accident on a Public Sidewalk?

Generally, the specific damages that you may be able to recover will depend on the details of your case. Oftentimes, compensation for economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, other out-of-pocket costs, and damages for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In some cases, due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity, the government entity may be immune from liability for your damages. In these situations, it can be difficult for the plaintiff to recover damages.

If you have sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident on a public sidewalk, it is best to speak to an attorney who can review the facts of your case, provide more information about your legal rights, and determine the best course of action to take moving forward.

What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?

  • If the accident occurred at a business, contact management and report the accident to them;
  • Contact law enforcement and further document the accident and injuries; 
  • Seek medical care for any injuries that occurred;
  • Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

At Clayton Trial Lawyers, we consistently help people in your situation. Contact us today.