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Los Angeles Sidewalk Slip and Fall Lawyer

cracked, jagged, broken sidewalk

Los Angeles is estimated to have more than 10,000 miles of sidewalk, and more than 4,600 miles of it need to be repaired. These poorly maintained sidewalks present a real threat. Unsuspecting pedestrians, joggers, children, and elderly residents are at risk for a sidewalk trip and fall. Badly maintained sidewalks can result in broken or missing pieces of concrete, uneven surfaces, and vegetation overgrowth. Injuries from this type of slip and fall accident are often serious and require months of rehabilitation.

At Salamati Law, we fight for fair compensation for victims of slip and fall accidents in Los Angeles and Southern California. We tackle each case, focusing on the unique issues it presents. With decades of experience successfully pursuing premises liability claims, a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer from Salamati Law has the knowledge and expertise to protect your rights in a trip and fall on an uneven sidewalk. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk in Los Angeles?

Woman walking spraining ankle stumbling in the street

In many circumstances, you can sue for a sidewalk injury. However, the burden is on the plaintiff (accident victim) and their lawyer to prove the following elements to have a successful personal injury claim:

  • The party you are suing owed you a duty of care.
  • That party breached their duty of care to you if they failed to fix a crack or other hazard of the sidewalk.
  • That breach of duty resulted in your injury, i.e., you tripped and fell due to a hazardous condition on the sidewalk.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the injury, which could include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other material losses.

If your lawyer can prove the above elements of negligence, you can likely sue after tripping and falling on a sidewalk in Los Angeles. The next issue is determining liability.

Who is Liable for a Sidewalk Slip and Fall in Los Angeles?

Beverly Hills city hall under a clear sky in Los Angeles, California

In this type of lawsuit, there is usually at least one of two probable defendants:

  • The municipality that owns the sidewalk or
  • The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk.

However, the question of who is responsible for sidewalk maintenance and repair can be trickier in Los Angeles than in other cities. The general rule in California is that the cities own the sidewalks but that the property owners are responsible for maintenance and repair.

In Los Angeles, there has been a significant settlement in the lawsuit between the City and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the notoriously bad condition of Los Angeles’ sidewalks presents accessibility challenges for those with disabilities.

In fulfilling its end of the ADA lawsuit settlement, the City has adopted the Safe Sidewalks LA program, which will reimburse property owners for half the repair costs, up to $10,000. Still, the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance is not uniform across the state. In addition, other responsible parties could include construction companies that disrupted the sidewalk and failed to repair it. 

Are Sidewalks Private Property?

Sidewalk in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood

In California, as noted above, the City generally owns sidewalks. However, California Streets & Highway Code 5610  states that the maintenance and repair of public sidewalks are the property owner’s responsibility. So, when it comes to private property owners, they have a responsibility to keep the sidewalk safe. The City maintains curbs, gutters, pedestrian curb ramps, and any drain inlets. For example, if the roots of a tree planted by the homeowner cause an uneven sidewalk injury, they can be held liable for any injuries.

The municipality will be responsible if it was negligent and if that negligence caused the slip and fall injury. This usually means that the plaintiff must prove that the sidewalk was unreasonably dangerous and the municipality knew or should have known about its condition. To understand who might be responsible for your injury, speak with an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer at Salamati Law.

Common Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents on Sidewalks

One of the key roles of a Los Angeles sidewalk slip and fall accident attorney is to investigate the cause of your accident. Some of the most common causes of sidewalk injuries include:

  • Tripping on cracks from uneven pavement settling or disruption by tree roots–which are just two examples. Bumps, deep cracks, and loose gravel pieces are a leading cause of tripping. Defendants often try to minimize cosmetic damage to the sidewalk, calling it “too insignificant” to cause a person to trip. That’s when it’s very handy to have an aggressive legal team backing your claim!
  • Stepping in potholes created by weather conditions or damage that causes holes to break in the concrete.
  • Uneven walkways— As little as 1/4-1/2” can catch a pedestrian’s shoe. Uneven sidewalks typically occur when base materials shift, causing part of the cement to shift – or when tree branches push up underneath. Whether sections of sidewalk have drifted apart over time or were poorly installed, a trip and fall on an uneven sidewalk is an accident most victims don’t see coming.
  • Ice and snow, while rare in the City, winter weather conditions can cause unsafe walking environments in the mountains outside of LA. Though property owners are legally obligated to clear any public paths they own, it can be difficult to prove these cases without photographic evidence taken at the time of injury. There are many defenses a person can raise as to making a “reasonable effort” to clear hazards caused by weather conditions. Proper drainage should be installed to prevent water buildup on the sidewalks.
  • Tripping on debris— In rare instances, property owners have placed some type of obstacle on the sidewalk that causes a person to trip and fall – be it a construction cone, a bicycle, children’s toys, signage, work tools, garbage, or some other type of debris.
  • Pedestrian Inattention –Texting or using a cell phone while walking, being preoccupied with a leashed dog or child, drinking and walking, fiddling with headphones, horsing around with a friend, or generally not watching where you’re walking can place some of the liability onto you. Sometimes pedestrians are accused of wearing “improper footwear” for the conditions or the activity.
  • Improper Sidewalk Design – Another rare argument made in court is that the sidewalk was poorly designed. Sidewalks can be too narrow, in areas overgrown by trees and vegetation, poorly lit, made with insufficient materials, poorly leveled, or not cured all the way. Sometimes sidewalks were built to code many years ago, but the codes have changed and they no longer comply.

After thoroughly reviewing the circumstances of your slip and fall injury, our legal team can begin helping you pursue compensation that addresses the losses you have suffered.

What Is My Sidewalk Trip and Fall Case Worth?

The amount of compensation you may be eligible for is generally based on the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life and may include the following:

  • Medical expenses including bills from physicians, hospitals, therapists, and other medical service providers.
  • Expenses for medications, mobility assistance devices, and modifications to living space that are needed to facilitate the victim’s limitations due to injuries
  • Costs associated with future medical treatments
  • Lost wages and salary that the victim is unable to earn while recuperating.
  • Lost future earnings and job opportunities
  • Psychological trauma
  • The effects of permanent scarring or disabilities

Proving Negligence in a Sidewalk Trip and Fall Case

A group of young lawyers sitting around a conference table with papers discussing a case

A store owner, municipality, or another party was likely at fault in your sidewalk trip and fall accident, but proving negligence is challenging. However, a skilled attorney can make a difference in your premises liability claim.

Evidence of negligence may be found in surveillance footage or maintenance records. Eyewitnesses may have seen the accident and be able to testify as to its cause. In some cases, expert witnesses can provide testimony that the sidewalk was dangerous or not adequately maintained.

We have extensive experience investigating the causes of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. We will diligently investigate to find the facts and evidence that support your claim.

The Difference an LA Personal Injury Lawyer Can Make

Businessman shaking hands to seal a deal

First, with a sidewalk trip and fall in Los Angeles, the City has instituted a claims process, but it generally does not benefit the victim. The City denies nearly all claims and often does not inform the claimants, which threatens compliance with the statute of limitations.

Second, in these cases, defendants may blame the victim. They will dig for evidence that the injury occurred because the plaintiff was careless, e.g., texting while walking or wearing inappropriate footwear. They could also argue that the injuries were pre-existing or not as severe as described.

An experienced Los Angeles sidewalk slip and fall lawyer knows how to address and counter these tactics to benefit the injured person.

Statute of Limitations: Act Quickly to Protect Your Rights

An hourglass with blue sand running through it sitting on a calendar

If you believe you have a viable claim for compensation following a slip and fall accident, understand that your time for pursuing legal action is limited. As noted above, a firm deadline applies to your claim, known as the statute of limitations.

These deadlines are intended to prevent lengthy delays between the accident date and when a claim is filed. Evidence can disappear, and witnesses can move away and be impossible to locate.

California’s statute of limitations for a slip and fall injury claim is generally two years from the accident date. If an injured person fails to file a civil lawsuit before that two-year window closes, they will likely be barred from filing a lawsuit.

The Slip and Fall Lawyers Los Angeles Trusts

Downtown Los Angeles skyline at sunset

Sidewalk injury claims are complex. To ensure you present your best case, speak with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Salamati Law who has experience handling slip and fall cases. Call today to schedule a free case review. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront legal costs.

Additional sidewalk slip and fall injury resources:

  1. University of Wisconsin, Accident Prevention: Slips, Trips and Falls,
  2. Heimer Engineering, Walkway, Path, And Sidewalk Slip, Trip, And Fall Accidents,
  3. Curbed Los Angeles, Where the Sidewalk Ends…In a Tree Root-Related Lawsuit,
  4. LA Times, L.A. agrees to spend $1.3 billion to fix sidewalks in ADA case,
  5. LA Times, Activists sue Los Angeles over Hyperion Bridge design’s single sidewalk,
  6. Next City, Suing for Sidewalks,
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We are committed to negotiate your case aggressively, strategically and creatively. Personal injury lawsuits are retained on a contingency fee agreement, and plaintiffs will pay no legal fees unless the firm is able to recover damages on your behalf.

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