A pedestrian could suffer a sidewalk injury at any time of day or night. A walker could even get injured while using the sidewalk on a quiet Sunday morning. How could that same walker discover the person that should be held responsible for any injuries?
Factors that help to determine whom to blame
The status of the sidewalk
—Was it a private walkway?
—Was it something that the local government had created for utilization by members of the public?
The sidewalk’s location
—In the city: The city government must arrange for removal of snow and ice from the city’s sidewalks.
—In a small metropolitan area: Each homeowner is responsible for shoveling the snow or ice off of the sidewalk in front of the family’s residence.
Identity of the sidewalk’s owner
—A homeowner’s association
Local laws and circumstances:
Sometimes a local law indicates how the legal system interprets actions that suggest ownership of a public walkway. If a homeowner has tried to control usage of such a walkway by members of the public, then the local government might view that particular action as declaration of ownership.
What would be the significance of such a declaration? It could become the basis for a government’s decision to seek financial support from the same homeowner, in the event that someone was to get injured, while using the walkway that had fallen under the homeowner’s baseless control.
For instance, suppose that an injured pedestrian was to seek compensation for injuries suffered while walking on the pathway in front of the same homeowner’s residence. In such circumstances the local government might declare that the same pathway’s improvised owner should be held responsible for covering the cost of treatment for the victim’s injuries, as per personal injury lawyer in Waterloo.
What caused the accident that injured the pedestrian?
—Did the pedestrian slip on the walkway’s surface and fall down?
—Did a walker trip on a raised section of the sidewalk, or on an especially short barrier, one that had been placed along the path that the walker had chosen to take?
What defenses could a defendant use, in order to challenge the plaintiff’s charges?
The victim was supposed to follow an established procedure, when filing a claim, and had failed to do so. Government bodies often ask injured victims to first file a notice of claim.
A local government might enjoy immunity from charges of negligence.The plaintiff’s charges had failed to offer proof for all of the essential elements of negligence.The danger that the plaintiff had pointed to as the cause for the accident was open and obvious.The danger that the plaintiff had mentioned was easily avoided.