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I tripped on a sidewalk in Philadelphia that was uneven and shattered by right knee cap. Who is responsible for my medical expenses?

 

A:

It depends on the circumstances of your fall.  I would need to know details regarding where the accident happened, what the uneven sidewalk looks like, i.e., whether the sidewalk missing a piece of concrete, or whether it raised because of a tree root pushing it up.

If you fell in a residential neighborhood where the sidewalk was in front of a home, then the home owner may be responsible for your medical bills, injuries and damages.  Pennsylvania trip and fall accident law requires home owners to keep the sidewalk in front of their homes and/or abutting their homes in a reasonably safe condition.  In other words, the sidewalk should not have unreasonably dangerous tripping or slipping hazards that can cause pedestrians to trip, slip and fall.

Related: Property Owners Are Responsible For Removal Of Tripping Hazards On Sidewalks

For example, if the sidewalk was missing a piece of concrete or the roots of a nearby tree were pushing up a part of the sidewalk, then the owner may be responsible for your fall.

If you fell in front of a commercial office building, then the owner of the office building may be responsible.  In addition, the building management company, if there is one, may also be responsible.  Like home owners, owners of Philadelphia commercial buildings have the duty to keep the sidewalk in front of their buildings free from unreasonably dangerous conditions that may cause injuries to innocent pedestrians.

If the building owner hired a building management company to maintain the sidewalks, then the building management company may also be responsible.

Other parties that have control of the sidewalk may also be responsible for your injuries.  For example, the week before you fell, Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) was doing work and needed to dig up the sidewalk.  Before PGW was done, workers patched the hole with cement but did not even it out, causing the sidewalk to be uneven.  In this situation, PGW may be responsible because it created a dangerous tripping condition that caused you to fall.

Though the above parties may be responsible, we would need to prove that the responsible parties had notice of the dangerous condition.  For example, if the home owner knew before your fall that the raised sidewalk was dangerous and needed to fix it, but didn’t get around to it, then the home owner is responsible for your injuries.  To learn more about notice and the 2 types of notice, see Proving Notice in a Pennsylvania Slip-Trip-Fall Accident Case.

Feel free to call my office to discuss your trip and fall accident in Philadelphia.  I need more facts and details regarding your fall to properly assess your case.  Call 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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