Sidewalk Injuries & Liability – Stores, Businesses, or the City?

It is important for a shop owner to understand whether there is liability if a customer, passerby, or guest is injured on the sidewalk next to their store. If there is, then the shop owner should know how much. The city or franchise parent company may be responsible for any damages depending on the circumstances.

Who is Liable?

In sidewalk accidents that result in injuries, it is often difficult to determine who is at fault. Personal injury cases must include negligence to be valid. This problem must be present in order to have a liable party. Once the legal team has determined that negligence is involved in the claim, the lawyer can help determine who is liable. The case could be brought against the owner of the shop, the city, or another business.If a landlord rents or leases the property, he or she may take primary responsibility for care and liability in these matters.

Negligence on the Sidewalk Accident

Negligence cases must prove four elements. First, the property owner of the sidewalk must owe the injured person a duty to care. An injury or fall on the sidewalk is not sufficient evidence to prove a case. The owner, person or agency responsible for that portion of sidewalk must do something wrong. If a duty does exist, then the owner or responsible party must breach this duty with this specific issue causing the injury. Then, the legal team must prove that the liable party for the sidewalk has a direct connection to the injury through the breach. Proving causation between these elements is not always possible.

Who is the Property Owner?

If a business doesn’t own the property or its surrounding properties, a landlord may be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance. If the lease or rental agreement does not contain specific terms about who owns the sidewalk, the landlord may be the one at fault for negligence. These lawsuits are often brought on by the landlord, who will be responsible for paying the appropriate amount of maintenance costs to maintain the sidewalk, grounds, and land.

In many cases, neither the landlord nor the business owner own the building. The city or municipality may be the owner of a strip mall, or a concentrated area of businesses on a street. The actual land on which the business is located may be owned by the town. It is possible that a lawsuit could be filed against the city if groundskeepers or other maintenance staff fail to protect the city from liability. Even if the town is sued, it is usually necessary to prove negligence.

Sidewalk Injuries: Pursuing the Claim

Once the person has identified the real culprit of negligence and is able gather enough evidence to present to a lawyer for review, it’s time to file a claim. After hiring a lawyer, the court will file the matter. This will allow the court to begin the process of sending the relevant documentation to all parties and launching litigation. The victim will often need an expert witness to help explain and test various issues connected to the accident and demonstrate to the courtroom how the specifics correspond to liability and the defending party.

A representative will represent the city government, which owns the sidewalk in front of the business, if it is held liable. The landlord or business owner could be the defendant for those who lease the property. In a valid claim there are elements of unsafe conditions that are attached to the sidewalk. The judge or jury can also see the elements of negligence. The lawyer can then use witnesses or other evidence to prove the case.

Sidewalk Injuries: Legal Support

A lawyer hired to represent the injured case will defend the client’s interests and seek the maximum and most reasonable compensation against the defendant. The lawyer will explain to the courtroom who is responsible and promise to seek a favorable outcome.

Updated 12/7/2021