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Can You File a Claim for a Slip and Fall Caused by Sidewalk Cracks?

walking over dangerous sidewalkIce and snow are not the only slip and fall risks in Minnesota. Cracked or uneven sidewalks are a trip and fall risk throughout the year.

Despite what some may think, trip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries.  Arm fractures, ankle and leg injuries and head trauma can occur when a person falls and strikes the concrete

Unfortunately, establishing liability for a trip and fall on a cracked or uneven sidewalk is a challenge. Could a property owner be held liable? Could the city or municipality face liability?

These types of claims can be complicated, which is why victims should discuss potential options with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney. TSR Injury Law has been representing the injured in Minnesota for decades, and we have successfully recovered millions on behalf of our clients.

Need legal help? Call TSR today: (612) TSR-TIME.

How Do Cracks Form in Sidewalks?

Some contractors say there are two types of concrete slabs, ones that already have cracks and ones that will have cracks in the future.

No matter how careful workers may be when installing concrete, it is probably going to have cracks at some point because of the weather. Heat causes concrete to expand while the cold causes it to contract. This constant expansion and contracting results in tiny cracks. If rain or other moisture seeps into these cracks, it could freeze, making smaller cracks larger.

Moisture can get in between concrete slabs. In the winter, they freeze and causes upheavals of some slabs creating uneven slabs next to each other. This is a major tripping hazed. 

Another major reason sidewalks develop cracks or uneven areas is tree roots. Over time, roots grow away from the trunk of the tree and under the sidewalk. Eventually, concrete cracks develop around the root.

If the soil under the concrete slab is not properly impacted there can be pockets of air. Over time these pockets of air collapse and the sidewalk sinks down because of it.

How Do You Know if You Have a Case?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It all depends on the circumstances of the accident, including how it happened and the severity of the damaged sidewalk. That is why it is vital to find an experienced Bloomington-based slip and fall attorney to discuss your situation in detail. An attorney from our firm is available to discuss possible legal options and explain how we may be able to assist you.

Property owners have a duty to maintain their property, including sidewalks, but they must have actual or constructive notice of the sidewalk hazard. Private property and business owners have clear rules of maintenance and liability for injuries on their sidewalks. Government entities often have immunity from lawsuits, even if they knew or should have known there was a hazard.

One of the central issues that needs to be considered is whether the city or property owner knew or should have known the sidewalk was unsafe and failed to take reasonable action to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time.

If you tripped over a section of sidewalk with a tree root that caused cracks in the concrete, it would be easy to argue that the property owner should have been aware. It takes time for a tree root to damage a sidewalk so it would be reasonable to expect others to notice. They would also have plenty of time to remedy the issue to make it safer for pedestrians.

Even if you can show the property owner knew about the danger, they may argue that you could have avoided that section of the sidewalk. They may also say it was clear to a reasonable person how dangerous that section of sidewalk was. Generally, property owners have no duty to protect an invitee from harm if the risk is open and obvious to the invitee. An invitee is someone who enters a property after being invited, such as a customer in a retail store or restaurant.

That said, if the property owner can anticipate injury to passersby, he or she may still need to take action to remedy the danger. Sometimes action could refer to putting up a sign that warns people about the risk. There is always a battle between what a property owner knew and could have done to fix a hazard versus what a pedestrian could have done to avoid the danger and see the danger if they were paying attention.

Injured in a Slip and Fall? Contact Us to Discuss a Claim

Your slip and fall injuries could affect you for a long time, potentially for the rest of your life. Another party may be at fault for what happened, which means they would be responsible for your damages.

Call TSR Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation. An experienced attorney can review your situation and determine if you may have legal options. If you have a case, there are no upfront fees to hire our firm and no fees while we pursue compensation.

Have questions? We are ready for your call: (612) TSR-TIME.

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