Articles Tagged with trip-and-fall

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Responsibility for sidewalk maintenance depends on where the walkways is located and what the state and municipal ordinances say about who is responsible. Sometimes it can be private property owners located adjacent to the walk or homeowners associations or businesses on which the walkway exists. On public sidewalks, though, responsibility for maintenance usually rests with the county, city or town government. Orlando sidewalk injury lawyer

If you suffer injury in an Orlando sidewalk trip-and-fall, your claim is likely to be against the City of Orlando, which is responsible for sidewalk grinding of sections that have become lifted, cracked or uneven. Although old English common law established the idea of governmental “sovereign immunity” from torts, F.S. 768.28 outlines the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity in tort actions, allowing it to be treated just like any other negligent party or vicariously liable employer. However, there are a number of exceptions, which is why it’s so important to work with an Orlando injury attorney with a track record of success in cases against government agencies. Ask for specific examples when you’re deciding which attorney to hire.

One of the exceptions outlined in the statute involves something called discretionary function immunity (the opposite of which is ministerial function, for which governments can be held liable). These are technical and complex legal concepts, but the easiest explanation is that ministerial duty applies to a public employee’s official duty, without room for the worker to exercise any discretion. On the other hand, discretionary function is that which involves a function of one’s public employee job that requires the individual to exercise some degree of judgment in carrying out the task.  Continue reading →

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Government agencies owe a duty to ensure public walkways and thoroughfares are correctly designed and adequately maintained to minimize the risk of danger to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. When a dangerous condition results in an unreasonable risk of injury to members of the public, the agency may be liable to pay damages resulting from that injury.sidewalk1

An expose by the Sun Sentinel last year revealed Fort Lauderdale alone has 106 miles of bad sidewalk – enough to stretch from here all the way to Fort Pierce. On top of that, there are more than 850 miles of road throughout the city that really need sidewalks, but don’t have them. As the city strives to improve accessibility for all road users, this is a major challenge.

But even cities that are working toward improvements can’t escape liability if they are aware of a certain problem and fail to fix it or warn the public about it. Take for example the recent case of City of Beech Grove v. Beloat, a trip-and-fall injury lawsuit weighed by the Indiana Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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Fort Lauderdale’s city manager has proposed shelling out $2.1 million in risk insurance funds to cover the cost of sidewalk repairs, following a new report indicating more than 100 miles of it in the city are unsafe. sidewalkcrack

That will only begin to cover the costs of fixing the walkways, though. The consultant’s study that opined a quarter of the city’s 425 miles of sidewalks are badly damaged (cracked, uneven or pocked), and the cost to fully repair those areas is going to be $16 million. But even paying that much won’t give the city the safe walkability label for which it’s striving. Even if the city doubled the number of sidewalks that currently exist, that wouldn’t be enough to place sidewalks on all the roads in the city that lack them. By some estimates, that cost could swell to $100 million.

But it’s a major concern when you consider two things:

  • Florida has the highest rate of pedestrian accidents, fatalities and injuries in the nation.
  • The city has spent $1.3 million in five years to settle trip-and-fall claims related to sidewalk falls, but it’s only spent about $750,000 in repairs during that time – with about $94,000 of that reimbursed by homeowners who live adjacent to those sidewalks.

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