When you slip and fall on a public sidewalk due to a hazard or dangerous condition, who should be blamed? In some cases, it can actually be the fault of the city or municipality itself. If you hire a Prince George’s County slip and fall lawyer from our firm, we can take a closer look at your case and help you pursue the negligent party for damages.
When is the Government Responsible for Falls on a Public Sidewalk in Maryland?
If a sidewalk or walkway is not considered part of someone’s private property, then it is probably going to be considered a public sidewalk. That means that the local government should be responsible for keeping it safe for anyone who needs to use it. So if you slip and fall on a poorly maintained sidewalk, you can probably sue the city.
What Kinds of Obstacles Can Make a Public Sidewalk Dangerous?
All kinds of issues can make a sidewalk dangerous. Common slip and fall hazards include:
- Broken pavement
- Standing water
- Ice and snow that have not been cleared away
- Poor or no lighting
- Any other damage to the sidewalk that could cause a tripping hazard
How Long Do I Have to Sue After an Accident on a Public Sidewalk?
What you need to know is that suing a city or municipality is different than suing a person or private company. There is a statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Maryland. You have three years to begin legal action. However, that window shrinks to just one year when you are dealing with a city or government entity.
You must file a claim for damages under the Maryland Tort Claims Act within one year. If you miss this deadline you will probably have no way of recovering compensation. It does not matter how much evidence you have or how serious your injuries are. This is a hard and fast deadline, so it is in your best interest to act quickly.
Do I Need an Attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney, but we recommend that you have one on your side when you decide to pursue a case against a city or municipality. After all, your opponent is sure to have lawyers of their own. You should even the odds and hire a personal injury attorney who can:
- File your claim before the deadline expires
- Gather evidence needed to make your case
- Show that the city had knowledge of the dangerous conditions on the public sidewalk
- Handle all communications on your behalf
- Calculate fair compensation
Talk to Our Lawyers
So if you have been injured on a public sidewalk and you believe that you have a case, contact McCarthy, Winkelman, Mester & Offutt, L.L.P. We can schedule a consultation and take a closer look at your case for you. If we can assist you, we will do everything that we can to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.