When a Floridian is injured while on another person’s property, he or she can typically sue the property owner for damages. But what happens when a person is injured while stepping on a city sidewalk? Is the city held liable? One man is currently trying to sue the city after a sidewalk buckled and caused him to suffer serious injuries.
The man has filed a premises liability claim against the city of Belleville, Wisconsin, after falling on a sidewalk. The accident occurred when the man got out of his car and stepped onto the curb. The sidewalk, which was cracked and buckling, collapsed. The man fell and suffered serious injuries.
The City denies the allegations, claiming immunity due to the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. The City is also protected under the Premises Liability Act, which means that the City is not responsible for the man’s safety when a dangerous condition is obvious. City officials claim that the curb’s condition was obvious and blame the man for his own negligence. They believe the man should have been more diligent in looking out for his own safety.
Furthermore, the City claims that sidewalks are not owned by the City, but rather the property owners. It is therefore their responsibility to maintain the sidewalks. The man then added two more defendants – the owners of the property – to his complaint. He blames them for the unsafe sidewalks. He is seeking more than $50,000 for each of his three counts.
Typically, a city would be held responsible for any injuries caused to a person. It seems as though the city is fighting hard to maintain its innocence, but is the man at fault for his own injuries? Should he have avoided stepping on the cracked sidewalk when he knew that it could have caused him to fall? Perhaps both parties could be held liable for the man’s injuries. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “City of Belleville denies liability in man’s suit over allegedly dangerous sidewalks” Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Dec. 04, 2013