Tampa Sidewalk Slip and Fall
Slips and falls can happen anywhere—even on a sidewalk. A slip and fall can cause serious injuries. You may be dealing with costly medical bills. You may have had to miss work. You may have mobility issues and have trouble doing daily tasks.
Who owns the sidewalk? Who can give you compensation for your damages? Liability for a sidewalk accident depends on state law. In Florida, sidewalks are considered public domain, so what does that mean for you as a victim? Read on to learn more about the laws that apply and what you should do next.
Florida Premises Liability for Public Property
Like roadways, sidewalks are generally public property. This means they’re not owned by anyone in particular, but the city, municipality, or local government has a responsibility to maintain them. While some areas may hold the owner of an adjacent property liable for maintenance and repair, the city could still be considered liable in a lawsuit. That’s because many cities do not have ordinances that allow victims to sue the property owner for poor maintenance.
However, there is one exception: if the property owner alters the sidewalk. Alterations to a sidewalk can lead to defects and future accidents. The property owner has now increased their liability, since they now have a duty to protect pedestrians.
Some examples of sidewalk alterations include:
- Mowing and watering lawn between the sidewalk and the street
- Planting a tree
- Installing a sidewalk ramp
- Fixing a hole that was caused by the city
Different Rules Apply
Filing a claim for a sidewalk accident is not an easy process. In fact, before you can even file a claim or lawsuit against the local government, you must first file a “notice of claim” with the Florida Department of Financial Services. You must follow the process exactly and fill out the proper paperwork under strict deadlines. If you fail to do so, you may lose out on obtaining compensation. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in the process for filing claims against the government.
Also, note that there is a shorter statute of limitations if you’re filing a claim against a government agency. For most Florida personal injury cases, you have up to four years from the date of injury to file a claim. If you’re suing the government, you have just three years.
When filing a claim against a Florida government agency, there is a cap on damages. Even if you have millions of dollars in medical bills, you can only receive up to $200,000 in damages.
Contact Us Today
Accidents that happen on sidewalks can be tricky when it comes to determining liability. The government is often liable and there are different laws and procedures that apply.
Because these cases can be complicated, count on the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Anderson & Anderson to help. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call 813-251-0072.