Sidewalk Slip and Fall: Who Is Liable?

Premises Liability,Slip-And-Fall Accidents On Wednesday, November 15, 2023

If you get injured in a slip and fall accident that takes place on a sidewalk in Connecticut, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses. However, you or your slip and fall accident attorney must prove that someone else was negligent and that this contributed to the accident. Determining liability for a sidewalk slip and fall may require an investigation into what caused the accident.

Property Owner Liability  

The rules of premises liability state that the owner or controller of a piece of property is responsible for ensuring its reasonable safety for lawful visitors. This means they must keep it free and clear of dangerous conditions, potential hazards, and foreseeable injury risks. Property owners in Connecticut have a duty of care regarding the conditions of the sidewalks and driveways on their properties. 

If a property owner is negligent, meaning he or she fails to properly use or maintain a premises, this could result in dangerous sidewalk conditions, such as an accumulation of ice or snow. If a reasonably prudent property owner would have prevented the dangerous condition, the property owner may be held liable for a victim’s related slip and fall injuries.

A Business Owner 

If a slip and fall accident takes place on a sidewalk outside of a business or in a company-owned parking lot, the business owner could be held liable. Similar to private property owners, business owners have a duty of care to ensure that someone isn’t hurt on commercial properties. They must inspect the premises, repair any discovered or known defects, and warn customers of potential injury risks before welcoming them onto the property. If a business owner fails to repair an uneven curb or cracked sidewalk – such as a sidewalk outside of a grocery store – and this injures a customer, the business could be held liable.

The Government

If a harmful slip or trip and fall accident occurs on public property, such as a public street, near an intersection or on a pedestrian pathway, the victim may be able to hold a government agency responsible. State and municipal governments in Connecticut are required to repair any dangerous property conditions that arise in public places in a timely manner.  

Dangerous sidewalk conditions may include cracked or broken concrete, snow or ice, and debris that blocks pathways. The government must take prompt action to remedy the dangerous condition or warn the public of a potential slip and fall risk. Failing to do so could be grounds for a negligence claim against the responsible government agency.

Proving Negligence in a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accident Claim

Collecting financial compensation for a sidewalk slip and fall accident requires the plaintiff or injured party to meet the burden of proof. This means providing enough evidence to establish the required elements of the claim. In general, four elements must be established based on a preponderance of the evidence:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the sidewalk.
  • The owner or controller of the property knew or reasonably should have known of the dangerous condition.
  • The landowner did not make a reasonable effort to fix the dangerous condition or warn visitors.
  • The injured person was not likely to discover the dangerous sidewalk condition on his or her own.

A preponderance of the evidence means to prove something as more likely than not to be true. Proving a sidewalk slip and fall claim requires evidence, such as proof that the property owner should have known the sidewalk was dangerous and had a reasonable opportunity to make repairs. You may need to hire an premises liability attorney to help you establish this type of premises liability claim in Connecticut.

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