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Who Is At Fault If I Trip On Uneven Sidewalk In Taylorsville, UT?

If you sustain injuries from tripping on an uneven sidewalk, you need to know your rights and the applicable laws in your state. When accidents happen, it is sometimes evident who is at fault for an incident. Other times, it can be challenging to identify the liable party. Depending on the circumstances of your fall, you may have a right to receive compensation for your damages and losses. Determining the at-fault party in your case is crucial for pursuing a legal claim.

Sidewalk Maintenance

If not correctly maintained, sidewalks can become dangerous due to cracks and uneven surfaces. The entity responsible for keeping a sidewalk in good condition varies depending on the location of the walkway. The liable party may be a property owner or a government agency. Sometimes, more than one party is responsible for an accident.

It is important to note that you are responsible for being aware of your environment. However, in Taylorsville, UT, the law requires that property owners bordering streets or alleys keep all sidewalks, curbs, curb ramps and gutters in good condition. You can assess the details of your situation by asking yourself if a property owner had taken reasonable and proper care of the sidewalk, would you have avoided a fall entirely? If the answer is yes, you may have a legal case against an owner or insurance company. Even if a judge finds you partially at fault for your fall, you may still recover compensation.

Trip and Fall Causes

Various elements can lead to a trip and fall incident. Some common causes include the following:

  • Uneven concrete: When a sidewalk’s surface is not even, your shoe can easily catch on the raised area, even with only a slight measurement difference. Ground shifting or tree roots can cause the cement to move over time, creating potentially unsafe conditions.
  • Weather hazards: Property owners must take reasonable care to remove ice, snow or water buildup from sidewalks and other walkways connected to their business or residence.
  • Obstacles: Pedestrians can trip over items on the sidewalk that should not be there, such as construction debris, bicycles, tools, toys or other objects.
  • Sidewalk damage: Cracks, holes, loose gravel or bumps in a walkway can cause you to trip and fall.
  • Design flaws: Faulty design or construction of a sidewalk can lead to hazardous mishaps. Issues such as poor leveling or failure to cure cement correctly can result in structural flaws. Narrow width, vegetation overgrowth or insufficient lighting can also contribute to possible accidents.

Injuries From Falls

Even when being especially cautious, you can still trip on uneven surfaces. When public walkways do not receive adequate repair and maintenance, it can result in accidents and significant injuries. Some bodily damages that can result from a fall include the following:

  • Neck injuries: These damages can result from the impact of hitting the sidewalk or from straining your muscles trying to prevent your fall. Neck injuries are painful and can range from sprains to paralysis.
  • Shoulder damage: It is easy to hurt your shoulder when you land on concrete after tripping. Falls can cause shoulder dislocation, a torn rotator cuff, bursitis, impingement or fractures of the shoulder bones, including the clavicle.
  • Hip or pelvis injuries: Seniors often sustain these wounds after a trip and fall incident, but it can happen to anyone. These damages typically require surgery and take a long time to heal.
  • Torn muscles, ligaments or tendons: When you start to fall, you naturally try to stop it from happening. This exertion can lead to torn connective tissues that may require surgery and long-term physical therapy treatments.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Hitting your head on the concrete can cause wounds that range in severity from minor bumps and bruises to concussions, skull fractures or subarachnoid hemorrhages. These injuries can have long-term effects on your brain and body.
  • Fractures: The impact force of your body slamming into the sidewalk can also break bones in your hands, wrists, arms, legs, ankles and feet.
  • Spinal injuries: Tripping on an uneven path can cause your body to twist, resulting in back and spinal cord damage. You may sustain bulging or herniated discs, muscle spasms, chronic pain, decreased mobility or, in severe cases, paralysis.

After a Trip and Fall Accident

After falling, it is essential to take steps to ensure your care and protect your rights.

Think Before You Speak

Remain calm as you assess the situation. Do not say things that imply you are at fault or proclaim that you are not injured. You may feel fine at that moment, but adrenaline can mask pain, and some injuries have delayed symptoms and complications that do not appear immediately.

Gather Proof

You may become disoriented by the event and be unable to think clearly at that moment. Collect evidence even if you do not believe you will need to pursue legal action. If you change your mind about filing a claim, you may be unable to gather sufficient evidence later. Your injuries may be worse than you realize and require expensive treatments.

Obtain proof by taking photos of the sidewalk showing the uneven portion from various angles. Write down the contact information of any witnesses to the incident. File a formal report with the business or property owner. Ensure you get a signed copy of the report for your records.

Document the Details

Write down everything you remember about your accident. It is easy to forget small details if you do not document them. Take note of the time of day and lighting in the area. Include notes about the weather conditions and any ice, snow or water on the sidewalk at the time. Document the date and time of the accident as closely as possible.

See a Doctor

Seek medical attention following the mishap. Proper treatment can help reduce long-term effects and allow you to heal more quickly. It is best to have an evaluation by a medical professional to determine the nature and severity of your injuries.

Consult a Lawyer

Legal contracts can contain confusing language, and you may not get the compensation you deserve if you do not know the ins and outs of the laws. Speak with an experienced attorney to review the details of your case, understand your rights and identify the liable party. Only agree to compensation offers from property owners or insurance companies once you have spoken with a legal professional.

Compensation for Damages

Utah law has a four-year statute of limitations for seeking injury compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your fall, you can pursue claims for recovery of the following damages:

  • Economic: Monetary compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost income and ongoing treatment needs.
  • Non-economic: Settlements covering additional concerns from your accident, such as pain and suffering, disability, diminished quality of life and disfigurement.
  • Punitive: Compensation to punish a negligent or malicious party responsible for your fall.

If property owners in Utah are not compliant with sidewalk maintenance and repair regulations, they may be liable for accidents resulting from negligence. The legal professionals at Fielding Law can help you understand how the laws apply to your case. They can also negotiate with insurance companies and opposing attorneys to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or at 877-880-4090 to learn how we can help protect your legal rights after a trip and fall accident.