You are walking on the sidewalk and suddenly you trip over a small pothole or uneven surface and fall. Who is responsible for your medical expenses if you suffer bodily injury? After all, public sidewalks belong to the city of Richmond. Can you really sue a city or file a claim for damages against it? An experienced personal injury attorney at CAIL Law Firm will explain your rights and legal options after examining your case.
We know that suing the city of Richmond appears an impossible task for a person. But the city is the property owner in a sidewalk slip and fall accident. Since sidewalks are meant for pedestrian use, the city owes them reasonable care. If the ultimate cause of your accident on public property is poor maintenance and repair and you did not have any percentage of fault in this situation, then you may file an injury claim.
Can a Slip and Fall Cause Severe Injuries?
Slip and fall accidents are perceived as not being really serious. You took a tumble, that’s all. In reality, statistical data collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say otherwise. Between 2018 and 2019 (the most recent data available), falls represented 29% of all nonfatal injury causes across the US.
Victims of unsafe conditions on public/commercial property or private residences needed:
- immediate treatment and release (7,015.61 rates)
- hospitalization (883.98 rates)
- transfer to another healthcare unit (185.63 rates).
Some of the most common types of injuries in these cases are wrist and ankle injuries (sprains), neck injuries, and head injuries. For some people, especially for an elderly person, slip and falls are even more dangerous and can cause traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury.
If the unsafe condition of the sidewalk is the cause of these internal injuries, you have a claim under premises liability law against the governmental entity (in this case Richmond City Department of Public Works), just as you would have against business owners and homeowners who failed to exercise their duty of care towards you.
Key Issues in Filing a Claim for Compensation after a Fall on City Sidewalk
There are three main challenges in filing a slip and fall claim successfully against any government entity in Virginia. We will examine each of them in detail below.
The Pure Comparative Fault Principle Applicable in the Commonwealth of Virginia
As we said above, you may have a case if you were not at all responsible for your slip and fall accident. The personal injury law in Virginia states that a person must be 0% at fault for an accident in order to be eligible to receive financial compensation for their bodily injuries and property damage.
Thus, it is not sufficient to indicate that there were uneven sidewalks in the exact location where you suffered the accident. You must also prove that you were using reasonable care in walking (for instance, not being distracted driving by your mobile phone, walking slowly and carefully through accumulations of snow).
A premises liability attorney can examine the circumstances of your case and tell you whether you can fully attribute your fall to a dangerous sidewalk, or you may be found partially responsible for your accident.
The Specific Procedures for Filing a Legal Claim against a Municipal Department
The City of Richmond has its own specific rules for filing a claim against it. First of all, you must file a notice of claim before you prepare your personal injury claim. The notice must be addressed to the correct department and contain specific information:
- the date and time of the incident
- the exact location where the incident occurred
- a description of the events
- the nature of the damage you suffered (injury, property damage)
- the estimated losses you incurred as a result of the accident.
This notice is not a premises liability claim and does not guarantee any payment for your injuries caused by sidewalk defects. The notice will be analyzed and you may be required to provide additional information. This entire process can be quite daunting if you are still recovering from sidewalk accident injuries. This is why you should hire a Richmond slip and fall attorney to handle your case and provide you with legal representation.
Proving the Negligence of the Government Entity Liable for Your Accident
Ideally, a simple photo of the broken sidewalk would be enough to demonstrate the existence of a dangerous condition on property owned by the City of Richmond. In reality, it takes more than this to prove that the city officials did not manifest the ordinary care any person should have for invitees and agents on their property.
When you fight against a government agency, you need to be prepared to answer complicated questions prepared by their lawyers and insurance company, that are meant to make you admit even a slight degree of fault for the accident. Thus, you become the person responsible for your injury from a sidewalk fall. This means that your case will be dismissed.
How a Richmond Slip and Fall Lawyer Wins Your Fair Compensation
A personal injury attorney will rely on all types of evidence that are admissible in a claim submission or in court. From the lack of specific guidelines for remedying defective sidewalk conditions (as noted by the Federal Highway Administration) to hiring expert witnesses to reenact accidents on sidewalks, the attorney will collect relevant documents and testimonies to prove your case.
They will also know how to use every article of the law in your favor and present valid arguments, proving that the city failed in its duties of care to citizens. At the same time, a lawyer is your legal representative, empowered to act on your behalf. Thus, you can focus on your treatment and recovery plan, while the lawyer handles the claim and insurance issues, files documents, and performs various required procedures.
You will receive email updates about your case and you will be requested to perform only actions that cannot be delegated to the attorney. Thus, you will always make informed decisions – whether to accept a settlement amount for your accident claim or proceed with a lawsuit against the city of Richmond.
Hire a Personal Injury Law Firm that Cares!
At CAIL Law Firm we believe that every injured person deserves compensation if their injuries were caused by the negligence of another. Whether the responsible party is an individual, a business owner, or a government entity, we will fight on your behalf. When there are hazardous conditions on city-owned property, then city authorities should compensate innocent persons for their economic and non-economic damages.
We are not intimidated by top lawyers employed by the municipality or by big insurance companies. We know you have a case and we fight to win it. And, to prove that we mean this, we will not charge you any fees until and unless we win your fair compensation. Thus, you do not have to worry about whether you can afford legal representation.
Please note that you should call us for a free case review as soon as possible after your sidewalk slip and fall accident. You have a maximum of two years available to file a personal injury lawsuit (the statute of limitations applicable in Virginia), and there are other time constraints connected with filing the notice of claim, so call us now: 1-800-HURT-123!
Let's get started with your free consultation!