Every day people use sidewalks while traveling to work, stores, and school. However, should someone slip and fall on an ill-maintained sidewalk, that victim may seek compensation in a court of law for their injuries.
Recently, a gaping sinkhole measuring 10 to 20 feet deep developed along a Massachusetts sidewalk. The sinkhole was formed when a sewer line collapsed, causing the sidewalk to buckle in. The broken sidewalk is located near an area high school. Fortunately, no one has yet been injured by the sinkhole.
Although no one was harmed in this incident, a broken sidewalk could pose a serious threat should someone slip and fall. When this happens, the victim may seek compensation for their injuries. In some states, cities and municipalities are immune from lawsuits. However, in other states, this is not the case, and cities and municipalities are charged with the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks in good repair. The failure to repair sidewalks that are aged or broken could result in a lawsuit, should someone be injured while walking on them.
In addition, there are circumstances in which a property owner may be liable for accidents caused by broken sidewalks on their premises. For example, property owners are charged with ensuring private sidewalks on their property are kept in safe conditions. And even if the sidewalk is a public sidewalk, the property owner may be liable if the sidewalk is used almost exclusively to service the property owner, such as a sidewalk that is used primarily by customers entering a store.
People injured by inadequately maintained sidewalks may be able to bring a lawsuit against the city or property owner. Any compensation received from such a suit could provide the victim with the financial resources necessary to recover from the incident.
Source: ABC40 News WGGB “Sinkhole Opens Up Under Holyoke Sidewalk,” March 13, 2013