People who run, walk or ride a bike or skateboard on sidewalks can suffer a serious injury because of cracks or other conditions that make them unsafe. Many people assume that such an accident is no one’s fault, but that is not the case.
Whether the walkway is on public or private property, there are people responsible for making sure it remains safe for pedestrians. If the responsible party does not live up to this responsibility, they may come to harm as a result. There are many hazardous conditions that can cause a fall on a sidewalk.
A sidewalk usually consists of a long line of concrete slabs. When first installed, these are often level and even with one another. Over time, however, the slabs can break apart, or they can remain intact but shift so that they are no longer even with one another. This can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the most common is tree roots growing out and extending underneath the walkway.
Sometimes plants on the property grow so large or proliferate so much that they obstruct the walkway. This can result in a fall in one of two ways. Pedestrians either trip on the overgrowth or they cannot walk on the sidewalk at all because of it and have to turn to areas not intended for that purpose. Property owners have a responsibility to keep the walkway clear and the landscaping well maintained.
Sometimes the problem is with the initial design of the walkway itself. For example, it may be too narrow, too steep or made from a material that is prone to get excessively slippery when exposed to moisture.
The party responsible for a specific walkway depends on whether it is public or private. In the latter case, the owner is typically responsible. However, if it is a public walkway, the responsibility may rest with the city government.