Who Is Responsible When Someone Is Injured By A Poorly Maintained Sidewalk?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on August 10, 2015

in Buffalo Injury Questions and Answers

When someone suffers a personal injury in the Buffalo area as a result of falling on a poorly maintained or uncleared sidewalk, who is responsible depends on precisely where the sidewalk is located.

There are several rules regarding who is responsible for maintenance of sidewalks located on public or private property, and it helps to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to properly determine who is responsible.

For sidewalks on private property – whether a home or business – the owner is ultimately responsible for making sure the sidewalk is maintained and kept clear in most cases.

If another party has been hired to make sure the sidewalks are cleared, that party may also bear responsibility for any injury that occurs as a result of failing to clear the sidewalk.

Who is responsible becomes much more complicated for “public sidewalks,” especially sidewalks used by the public that front private property.

In such cases, whether the municipality where the sidewalk is located – such as the town or the city – or the owner of the private property adjacent to the sidewalk is responsible depends on the local law of the municipality.

In the absence of any local law, the municipality is responsible for the sidewalk. Many municipalities, delegate the duty to maintain the sidewalk to the adjacent property owner.

Whether this delegation includes liability for personal injury suffered as a result of failure to maintain the sidewalk, however, depends on how the municipality worded the local law delegating the responsibility.

As a result, the personal injury lawyer usually will have to review the local law and determine whether the municipality or the property owner is responsible for purposes of a personal injury claim.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, we would be happy to help you. Call us at 716-631-9999.

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