Potholes, debris, uneven sidewalks, raised sidewalks, water, ice, and cracks are some reasons sidewalks can be dangerous. Sidewalks in poor conditions can lead to accidents like slips and falls and various injuries.
Statistics show that over 1 million visits to the emergency room are due to slips and falls. Other accidents on dangerous sidewalks include broken bones and head injuries from falling objects.
According to the law in Lacey, sidewalks are supposed to be safe for pedestrians. Sometimes that’s not the case, and someone needs to be held responsible.
Personal injury lawyers in Washington can determine whether a property owner or building manager is legally responsible for a dangerous sidewalk.
Here are detailed reasons sidewalks become dangerous, who is responsible, and what to do if you are injured.
Causes of Dangerous Sidewalks
- Poor maintenance
Failure to maintain sidewalks regularly keeps them in a poor state. During the winter season, snow and ice accumulate on sidewalks.
If the people responsible do not quickly remove the snow and ice, it can cause serious accidents. Walking on such sidewalks increases the chances of pedestrians slipping and falling.
Sidewalks also become more damaged due to freezing and thawing. This causes the ground under the pavement to sink, shift, or lift, leading to gaps between sidewalk sections.
Other damages include cracks and uneven ground, creating more danger. Such uneven and broken sidewalks are risky.
Old age can also make sidewalks develop cracks and overgrown roots. Just like roads, sidewalks require repair from time to time. Sidewalks that are poorly maintained can cause serious injuries to people walking on foot, people on wheelchairs, and people on crutches.
Sidewalk accidents can lead to serious injuries. Getting medical attention, reporting the fall, and gathering all important information is important.
The evidence you collect will help to obtain personal injury compensation. Most people forget to collect evidence after a slip or a fall. It’s always important to
- Write down the cause of the fall
- Take pictures of the injuries with your phone
- Take pictures of the state of the sidewalk when the fall happened
Also, find out your rights from pedestrian accident lawyers in Lacey. An injury lawyer will help you understand your rights, file a case and make bodily injury claims. Experienced lawyers handle all types of injury cases and negotiate on your behalf.
- Debris on Sidewalks
Debris pedestrians face includes recycling bins, children’s toys, scooters, or overflowing garbage. Pedestrians may not be able to traverse debris on a sidewalk causing them to trip and fall. Some pedestrians might be blind or in a wheelchair making this kind of accident more severe.
- Cyclists using Sidewalks
Some states might allow cyclists to use sidewalks, while others do not allow cyclists on sidewalks. Cycling on the sidewalk creates confusion. Cyclists are likely to ride fast and hit pedestrians.
Some pedestrians like children, dog owners, or people on mobility devices like wheelchairs are likely to be more hurt. An impact with pedestrians on the sidewalk can cause them to fall on the road leading to a more serious accident.
The best rule that keeps everyone safe is for cyclists to use the road. The only time it’s safe for cyclists to use sidewalks is when they are walking and pushing their bikes.
- Construction Near a Sidewalk
Some construction work might take place near a sidewalk. Usually, contractors create detours for pedestrians. The detours are supposed to keep pedestrians safe, but accidents still happen.
Some of the common accidents that happen near construction sites include.
- Falling objects, tools, or materials that might hit people walking near the site
- A piece of constriction equipment striking a pedestrian
- Debris from the construction work causes pedestrians to slip and fall
Pedestrians are always expected to keep a safe distance if construction work is nearby. Regardless if contractors fail to follow safety procedures and a pedestrian is hurt, the contractor is held liable.
For example, if a pedestrian is hit on the head with a falling object and sustains serious brain injuries, Washington brain damage attorneys can file a case against the contractors.
- Poor Planning
Sidewalks that are not properly constructed can lead to accidents. For example, a sidewalk that suddenly ends and forces a pedestrian to cross a busy road or a sidewalk with poor lighting is dangerous.
Who is Responsible for Sidewalks in Washington?
According to state law, towns and cities are authorized to repair and replace sidewalks. Sometimes city authorities may require property owners to improve or construct sidewalks at their own expense.
Other maintenance activities that cities can ask property owners to perform include removing overgrown roots and shrubs. Property owners can also warn pedestrians of hazards on the sidewalks. For example, can use
- A brightly colored highlighter to mark dangerous pavements spots
- Paint specific areas on the sidewalk
- Put caution tapes around dangerous spots
- Put barners
Who is Responsible If a Pedestrian is Hurt?
Some accidents might not be anyone’s fault, but others can be due to negligence. You’ll have to prove negligence if you’re hurt on a dangerous sidewalk and think the property owner is responsible.
Without any proof of negligence, there is no case. You must prove that the property owner should have repaired the sidewalk or warned you of danger.
That’s why you need a personal injury lawyer to help you collect evidence and build a strong case. Having experienced lawyers in injury law will increase your chances of successfully filing a case and claiming damages.
Sidewalks are public places that are meant to keep pedestrians safe. The safety requirements of sidewalks are provided in the law.
It’s important to be able to identify unsafe sidewalks and protect yourself. It’s also important to know who is responsible for a sidewalk injury and how to get personal injury compensation.
Accidents like sideway slips and falls can result in serious health issues if not taken seriously. Pedestrians should always be careful and avoid dangerous sidewalks. Lookout for any hazard signs and be safe.