Who Is Responsible for Keeping North Carolina Sidewalks Safe?

Under North Carolina laws, local cities and towns are responsible for keeping their sidewalks reasonably safe for pedestrians. Unfortunately, there are many unkempt and dangerous sidewalks in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina. Many North Carolinians have slipped, tripped, and fallen on public sidewalks. Rain, ice, and snow can contribute to slip and fall accidents on publicly owned and maintained sidewalks.

If you have been injured on a public sidewalk, you may have a valid claim for compensation. Contrary to popular belief, you can sue a government when their negligence or their employee’s negligence, results in your injuries.

Can I Hold a City Liable For My Slip and Fall Injuries?

Suppose your slip and fall injury was caused by a pothole, cracked pavement, or an otherwise improperly maintained sidewalk. In that case, you might have a right to hold the city liable for your injury. Bringing a lawsuit against a city, town, or government entity is difficult. The process can be complicated. For example, you will need to file a notice of claim within the deadline. The notice provides the government entity notice that you will pursue a lawsuit. Injured parties must notify the municipality of their intent to pursue a claim within 30 days. If you do not file the claim in time, you will likely lose the ability to bring a claim against the municipality.

What Do I Have to Prove to Succeed?

To prove the city was negligent, you will need to prove that the city owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach resulted in your injury. Proving that the city owed you a duty of care can be challenging. In the following types of cases, the victim can typically prove that the city owed a duty of care:

  • A pedestrian was injured by a government vehicle, such as a bus
  • A pedestrian slipped and fell in or near a government building
  • A construction accident at city facilities caused the pedestrian an injury

These are only a few of the most common types of accidents that can result in city liability. Just because your case was not listed does not mean you do not have a claim. An attorney can discuss the facts of your case with you and whether you are eligible to pursue compensation based on your injuries and the facts in your case.

Succeeding in a Pedestrian Slip and Fall Claim Against a Municipality

If you are interested in pursuing a claim, you will need to reach out to an experienced attorney. An attorney will help you gather evidence proving that the municipality is at fault for your injuries. You will also need to prove that the municipality breached a legal duty of care to you and that the breach caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. North Carolina cities are not required to clear public sidewalks of ice and snow. However, if the municipalities fail to properly maintain sidewalks on public properties or in front of government buildings, the injured party can hold them accountable.

Municipalities are not allowed to force owners to remove snow from the public sidewalks adjacent to their properties. However, some municipalities have ordinances that require snow removal from private citizens. An attorney can help you understand the legal requirements of the locality where the accident occurred. Despite these obstacles, it may be possible for you to pursue a premises liability claim to recover damages. A key factor in success is to begin the evidence-gathering stage as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely evidence will disappear, and witnesses will be harder to find and may begin to forget what occurred.

Most claims against municipalities are filed through the Industrial Commission. You will need to bring the claim within three years of the accident. If your loved one passed away, you have three years from their death to bring a wrongful death claim. There is a $1 million cap on monetary awards when pursuing a claim against a municipality.

Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney

Have you been injured in a premises liability accident on a public sidewalk in North Carolina? If so, the city or town in which the accident occurred may be liable for your injuries. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other damages. You only have a limited amount of time to file notice that you are pursuing a claim against a municipality in North Carolina. Reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC, as soon as possible to schedule your free initial consultation and discuss your case with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney.

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