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Sidewalks, those seemingly mundane pathways we traverse daily, hold hidden hazards that can catch even the most vigilant pedestrians off guard. Uneven sidewalks, caused by a variety of factors, pose significant risks, leading to injuries and potential legal ramifications for property owners. In this article, we’ll explore the potential causes of uneven sidewalks, the injuries they can cause, and the legal options available to those who suffer a fall.

Causes of Uneven Sidewalks:

Uneven sidewalks can be caused by a multitude of reasons including weather, poor upkeep, as well as others. Here are some common causes of uneven sidewalks:

Tree Roots: One of the primary culprits behind uneven sidewalks is the growth of tree roots. As trees mature, their roots can extend beneath the pavement, causing it to buckle and crack.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles: In regions with fluctuating temperatures, the repeated freeze-thaw cycles can wreak havoc on concrete sidewalks. Water seeps into cracks, freezes, and expands, leading to the gradual deterioration of the pavement.

Poor Installation: Improper construction or maintenance practices during sidewalk installation can result in uneven surfaces. Subpar materials, inadequate compaction, or insufficient drainage can all contribute to unevenness over time.

Settling Ground: Natural settling of the ground beneath sidewalks can lead to sinking or uneven surfaces. This settling may occur due to soil erosion, underground utility work, or seismic activity.

Injuries Associated with Trips and Falls On Uneven Sidewalks:

Sprains and Fractures: Tripping on an uneven sidewalk can result in twisted ankles, sprained wrists, or even fractures, particularly if the fall is abrupt or forceful.

Head Injuries: In more severe cases, a fall onto an uneven sidewalk can cause head trauma, including concussions or skull fractures, especially if the individual is unable to brace themselves in time.

Soft Tissue Injuries: Abrupt falls can cause soft tissue injuries such as bruises, lacerations, or contusions, which may require medical attention and impact daily activities.

Psychological Impact: Beyond physical injuries, the emotional toll of a fall shouldn’t be underestimated. Fear of falling again or anxiety about walking on sidewalks can significantly affect one’s quality of life.

Can you sue for an uneven sidewalk?

If someone sustains injuries from tripping on an uneven sidewalk, they may have legal options to pursue compensation for their damages. Here are some steps to consider:
Document the Scene: Immediately after the fall, document the condition of the sidewalk, noting any cracks, uneven surfaces, or other hazards. Take photographs from multiple angles and gather contact information from any witnesses present.

Seek Medical Attention: It’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly, even if injuries seem minor. Medical records documenting the extent of injuries will be vital in any legal proceedings.

Report the Incident: Report the incident to the relevant authorities, such as the local municipality or property owner responsible for sidewalk maintenance. Ensure that a formal report is filed and obtain a copy for your records.

Consult with Legal Professionals: Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney experienced in premises liability cases. They can assess the circumstances of the fall, determine liability, and advise on the best course of action.

Initiate Legal Action: If negotiations with responsible parties or their insurance providers fail to result in fair compensation, legal action may be necessary. Your attorney can guide you through the legal process, including filing a lawsuit if appropriate.

Uneven sidewalks present real dangers to pedestrians, often leading to injuries with lasting consequences. By understanding the potential causes of unevenness, recognizing the injuries they can cause, and knowing the legal options available, individuals can better navigate the aftermath of a fall. Ultimately, holding responsible parties accountable for maintaining safe pedestrian pathways is essential for ensuring the well-being of communities and preventing future accidents.

If you have suffered an injury from a slip and fall related to an uneven sidewalk contact the law firm of Goidel & Siegel today for a free consultation about your uneven sidewalk injury.

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