Ask An Attorney For Guidance When You've Been Injured By A Trip-And-Fall Accident On A Sidewalk
If you trip over a heaved area of concrete and break a hip or suffer a back injury, the owner of the sidewalk may be responsible for your medical bills. Sometimes a fall on concrete does little more than cause embarrassment and a few bruises, but other times a fall can cause a head injury or broken bones that lead to expensive medical care. Hiring a personal injury attorney could be an important first step in getting compensation for treatment. Here are some ways an attorney might help.
Sort Out Who Is Responsible
The first step is to determine if you have a claim. If you tripped over damaged concrete, then your attorney has to determine if the owner of the concrete was negligent in not making repairs. Although the concrete may have damage that caused you to trip, it doesn't automatically mean the owner is at fault. The next step is to figure out who is responsible for maintaining the concrete. This is often tricky when it comes to sidewalks. A sidewalk might be on private property but maintained by the city. An attorney can identify the negligent party so you can file a claim if you have grounds for one.
Follow Laws For Filing Claims
If it turns out your city is to blame for the unsafe sidewalk, then you'll need to follow laws in place for filing claims against your municipality. The process may be different than filing claims against a private homeowner. There may be shorter deadlines and limits to your claim.
Gather Data To Bolster Your Case
It's good to get photos of the incident as soon as it happens. However, when you trip and break a hip, getting pictures is probably the last thing on your mind. In that case, getting photos as soon as possible is important. This provides some proof as to the condition of the sidewalk. If there's a heaved area from tree roots that poses a clear tripping hazard, that might help your case. Your attorney may also interview people with you at the time or request records from first responders who took you to the emergency room.
If you're recovering from a tripping injury now and haven't talked to an attorney yet, it may be wise to make a call for advice. If an attorney thinks you might have a case, then you'll want to start documenting all of your care and keep receipts for all your bills. In addition, write down everything that happened during the incident while it's still fresh in your mind. Then, you'll have helpful data to take to your attorney on your first appointment.