What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Indiana sidewalks can offer year-round hazards to individuals who traverse them.
- Sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner—whether that’s a private citizen or the city government—and must be maintained properly.
- Your timeline to file a slip and fall claim depends on what type of property the accident took place at.
Any slip and fall accident can be serious, no matter where it occurs. Injuries to the head, neck, spinal cord, and back are all common in slip and fall cases, as are injuries to the hands, wrists, arms, hips, and more. Victims of slip and fall accidents can suffer multiple broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries, as well as soft tissue injuries and lacerations.
One of the more common places for someone to have a slip and fall accident is on a sidewalk. Because of Indiana weather, Hoosiers face icy, slippery sidewalks in late fall through early spring, as well as wet sidewalks and pool decks in the spring and summer.
Commonly made of concrete, Indiana pathways, much like Indiana roads, have a tendency to deteriorate and become damaged by ice and road salt, creating uneven paths with holes and broken sections. Because of this, sidewalks should be maintained by property owners year-round. Unfortunately, not all owners are duly diligent in this regard.
Who is Liable?
If you or a loved one has suffered a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk and become injured, one of the first things you will want to do after seeking medical attention is to get photos of the scene. Photograph the sidewalk and any obstructions or damage to it, as well as your injuries. You will want to preserve the footwear you had on, and taking photographs of it can be especially helpful.
If any witnesses are around, ask if you can have their contact information. This way, you can get back in touch with them regarding your fall and what they saw.
Depending on where the sidewalk is located, determining the liability for your accident can be tricky. Here are some questions you can ask to help determine who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk that caused your fall:
- Is the sidewalk on private or public property?
- Was there anything on the sidewalk, or growing onto it, that shouldn’t have been? For example: wires, cables, garden hoses, tall plants/weeds, detritus, toys, or other objects.
- Is the sidewalk wet?
- Is the sidewalk icy?
- Is the sidewalk damaged? Does it have cracks, holes, or rough spots?
- If the sidewalk is damaged, how long has it been so? Is it reasonable to assume the property owner should have been aware of the damage?
- Would you have fallen had the sidewalk been maintained properly/any obstructions were not present?
- Were you engaged in another activity that would have caused you to fall? For instance, were you talking or texting on your phone?
- Were you wearing proper footwear and proceeding on the sidewalk in a proper manner?
- Was the weather optimal for walking the sidewalk?
- Is your injury the direct result of your slip and fall accident?
Once you have answered some of these questions, you will have a better idea of who is responsible for your accident.
If the accident happened in front of someone’s house, but they were not outside to see the accident, you might want to contact a lawyer before contacting the individual.
If your accident occured on public property, or you’re unsure of whose property it was, you can contact the city where the accident took place to find out. You can also let them know you were injured so there is a record of it, but go ahead and decline to speak further without a lawyer.
And remember, because Indiana is a comparative fault state with modified comparative negligence, even if you were somewhat responsible for your accident, you can still receive compensation as long as you were not more than 50% at fault.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations for personal injuries in Indiana is two years; however, if your slip and fall accident took place on city or government property, you will only have 180 days to file a claim or risk losing your opportunity to forever. This is a very short window, and you should waste no time in contacting a qualified slip and fall accident attorney to begin working on your claim.
Gather all evidence from the scene that you have (photographs, witness statements, etc.) and medical bills and share this evidence with your attorney. If any surveillance footage is available from the scene, such as from a business, traffic cam, or neighbor, we will want to work with you to track that down before it is erased.
Pursuing a personal injury claim can seem daunting and overwhelming, especially in addition to the physical, financial, and emotional pain the injury causes you and those you love. However, by moving swiftly with the right attorney, you can come away with compensation for damages such as medical bills, lost and future wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery: Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.
Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case or you pay no fees at all. Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away.
Call 800-265-9881 for a free case review.