Sidewalk Injury Lawyer in San Francisco
Many California slip or trip and fall cases happen on sidewalks. Often, people trip in places where one section of a sidewalk is raised, causing a tripping hazard. This commonly results from tree roots. When tree roots disrupt a sidewalk and cause a fall, determining the ownership of the trees can be important. In San Francisco, for example, the city keeps a list detailing every street tree owned by the City.
In other cities, more investigation may be needed to find out who owned the tree. Also, many California cities have laws making the property owner responsible for keeping the sidewalks fronting their property safe, whether or not a city-owned tree caused the damage.
Sidewalk Trip and Fall Accidents
When a sidewalk fall is caused be a raised section, or slab, proving how much the section was raised is very important. Getting an attorney on board quickly can ensure that measurements will be taken, and documented with photographs. If the distance involved is less than about one inch, California law holds that the case might be subject to the “trivial defect” rule. Other factors that are important include prior falls, the type of shoes you were wearing, and whether there is any distraction, such as a store window, nearby. California law recognizes that store windows distract people, and there is a lowered responsibility to look at where you are stepping if there is a recognized distraction nearby.
Your shoes are important too. After a fall, the shoes become evidence in the case, and should be saved and not used again until the case is over. If the shoes are very worn, or have very high heels, this will give the defense something to use to attempt to show that the fall is your fault.
Who’s Responsible in a Sidewalk Injury?
In many sidewalk fall cases, repairs are made after the person falls, but before the claim is complete. This is why it is a good idea to hire an attorney promptly, so that evidence can be preserved. Many people are surprised to learn that these “subsequent repairs” cannot be used in California to prove that the sidewalk was a hazard. This rule is in place to encourage owners to make repairs and protect public safety.
What’s California’s Statute of Limitations on Sidewalk Trip and Fall Cases?
California has a two-year statute of limitations for sidewalk fall injury cases against private property owners. This limit runs from the date of the fall, and the case must be settled or filed in court before it runs. For cases involving a public entity, such as a city or county, there is a six-month claims period, so these cases will be lost unless a proper claim is promptly filed. Even though you may have plenty of time before your time limit is up, we can help guide you through the process from day one, helping to insure that the proper groundwork is done for your claim.
Contact a Lawyer for Sidewalk Falls
If you or someone you know has been injured in a California sidewalk fall, call 415-541-0300 for a free consultation to speak to a sidewalk fall lawyer in San Francisco at Callaway & Wolf. Or contact us conveniently online.