Where the Sidewalk Gets Dangerous: Navigating Sidewalks in Disrepair in the Suburbs

Where the Sidewalk Gets Dangerous: Navigating Sidewalks in Disrepair in the Suburbs 

Damaged sidewalks: let’s be honest, it’s not something we think much about… but it’s something that can really hurt us. As the weather turns warmer and we take more walks outside with friends, family, and our dogs who are friends and family, we need to start being more aware of the sidewalks in our neighborhood that may be in disrepair. 

Additionally, as many of us are suburban homeowners, we also need to be aware of a sidewalk on our property that has damage due to tree roots, chipped pieces of concrete, changes in sidewalk elevation— or any number of factors that can heighten the danger of a sidewalk in disrepair. 

If you’re injured on a sidewalk— anything from a simple tumble to a terrible fall that twists your ankle or breaks your leg— the first, and most important, the thing you must do is seek medical attention. If you feel you need the assistance of a doctor or a nurse, do not delay. 

You may then want to consult with a personal injury attorney, like our friends at Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC. Remember, you do not pay anything upfront for doing so; personal injury law firms work on a commission based upon the settlement or verdict. Here are a few things you should consider if you’ve been injured on a sidewalk: 

  • The first order of business will be to find out who owns the sidewalk. Is it private property, or public? Is it maintained by a town, municipality, or county, a business, or a private residence? This will determine how your potential case proceeds. 
  • Consult with your potential attorney about the statute of limitations. In New Jersey, for instance, the standard statute of limitations for an injury of this nature is two (2) years from the date of the accident. (There are some exceptions, but they generally pertain to minors or claimants of a diminished mental capacity.) Other jurisdictions have other rules that regulate their statute of limitations laws.
  • Take photographs and measurements of where your injury occurred. This is especially easy to do in our cell-phone-driven society. You may want to take a friend or family member with you to assist you, especially if you are injured. This type of information may be useful to your attorney as your case moves forward. 
  • File a report. Whether it’s a city, municipality, or county, you’ll want to file a report of the accident. This will establish that an accident did indeed take place and may be useful to your attorney (also, to say nothing of the fact that it may result in the negligent sidewalk being repaired, thus preventing anyone else from being injured). 

If you’ve tripped, slipped, and/or fallen on a sidewalk that’s in disrepair, it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention and/or consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.