Several injuries can occur when walking, jogging, or otherwise using the sidewalk. When one of these injuries is the result of sidewalk conditions, however, victims may have options when it comes to seeking compensation. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be advisable to seek legal counsel before accepting an insurance settlement. This can help ensure you are not voluntarily giving up damages that you are entitled to.
Many factors can contribute to injuries on a sidewalk. Some of the most common dangers include:
- Uneven pavement
- Broken, chipped, or cracked pavement
- Ice and snow
Property owners are required to keep their sidewalk in good repair. This means keeping walkways clear of debris and free of ice and snow. It also means repairing buckled or broken slabs of concrete.
In St. Louis, property owners can take advantage of the 50-50 Sidewalk program where the city will pay for ½ of all sidewalk repair costs. If the sidewalk damage has been caused by tree roots, the city will pay 100% for its replacement. Failure to maintain a sidewalk can result in liability if a pedestrian is injured while walking on a damaged or slippery portion adjacent to the property.
While this may seem fairly cut and dry, Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which can complicate the settlement process. Under this rule, if it can be established that you contributed to your injury, your damages will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 for your injury but it is established that you were 20% at fault for your accident, your actual compensation would be $80,000.
But how can you determine the percentage of liability each part shares?
Working With an Attorney
At Brown & Brown, we take time to carefully investigate all slip and fall claims. If your accident occurred on someone else’s property, we will work to uncover all contributing factors, enabling us to determine who should be liable for damages.
In some instances, an insurance settlement will be sufficient for covering damages like medical expenses and lost wages following a slip and fall accident, but this is not always the case. In order to make sure you are not voluntarily waiving your right to take legal action, talk to an attorney before you accept a settlement.
Call our St. Louis office at 314-333-3333 or our Fairview Heights office at 618-888-8888 to schedule a complimentary consultation.