Everyone should feel safe while taking a stroll down the street. Our taxes pay for municipal services and infrastructure, so being injured due to falls or trips on broken sidewalks shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
However, the reality is that failures in city infrastructures arise from a combination of government employee neglect, insufficient council budgets, poor management, and administrative error. Unfortunately, walking down some streets in Miami means exposure to the risk of falling or tripping on a defective sidewalk.
If you’re injured due to municipal neglect to maintain the street or sidewalk, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and other economic and non-economic costs. After you pick yourself up from the street, assess your injuries and seek medical attention. Then, head directly to your Miami personal injury law office and consult an accident attorney about filing a case against the negligent party.
Sidewalk and Street Defects that Cause Personal Injury
Slip and falls due to defective sidewalks and streets happen every day, with Miami locals experiencing street hazards such as potholes, uneven walking surfaces and sidewalks, cracked roads, missing traffic signs, and poorly designed pedestrian areas.
Accidents happen, but when they occur due to municipal neglect, someone needs to be held accountable for your injuries. Working with a personal injury firm is the best way to build a case for compensation. Your attorney will interview engineers, municipal employees, and witnesses to collect evidence and support your claim.
Typical Injuries Due to Defective Sidewalks and Streets
Some of the more common injuries experienced by individuals tripping or falling on defective sidewalks or streets include:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Brain injuries
- Muscle, ligament, and joint sprains
- Scrapes and bruises
While you may not understand the full extent of your injuries immediately after falling on a defective sidewalk, it’s important to realize that most people rely on their mobility to make a living. If you work in a job that requires you to leave your home, breaking your leg in a fall could cost you your job.
Someone is liable for that loss of income, and your personal injury attorney will ensure you receive fair compensation for your loss.
Determining Liability for Street and Sidewalk Defects
The municipality responsible for meeting infrastructure requirements is likely liable for your accident and injuries. However, local Miami municipalities receive protection from a state law that limits liability claims against governments. You need to take action as soon as possible if you want to file a complaint and receive a settlement.
In some cases, property owners and not the local government may be liable for defective streets and sidewalks. Construction contractors may have torn up the road while making renovations, increasing the odds of a pedestrian accident.
Hiring an injury attorney to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident is the best way to collect evidence for your case. They will interview other local property neighbors, establish a theory of liability, and file the claim for you.
More often than not, the cause of defective streets and sidewalks is blatant municipal mismanagement and negligence. However, proving negligence is a challenge for even the most experienced accident lawyers. That is why it’s critical to work with experienced professionals, who understand the process of handling your claim.
When Is a Town or City Liable?
A municipality is liable for your slip and fall accident if you can prove negligence is the attributing factor in the street or sidewalk defect. In other words, slipping on a sidewalk and scuffing your knee due to environmental conditions or losing your balance are not valid grounds for a claim.
There must be a significant hazard of which the city is aware, or should have been aware, and which the city failed to fix due to negligence. Falling into an open manhole and tripping over a defective curb are examples of incidents in which the municipality may be held liable for your injuries. If you’re the victim of civil negligence and injure yourself on a defective street or sidewalk, take pictures of the area after you pick yourself up. The pictures will provide your personal injury attorney with evidence when it comes time to file your claim.
What are the Deadlines for Filing a Claim?
The statute of limitations in Florida limits the timeframe for filing a personal injury claim to within four years of the date of the accident.
You may be unaware of some rules, such as the need to notify the proper municipal department of your accident within as little as 30 days of the date of the incident. Your report must note the exact time and location of your accident.
Avoid the hassle of being bounced from department to department and hire an uneven sidewalk attorney in Miami to pursue your claim. We know the proper department to contact, and we will ensure your case receives the proper attention it deserves by following up with the department on your behalf.
Steps for Filing your Personal Injury Claim
The process of handling your case involves litigation milestones along the way, from filing your claim to receiving your settlement figure. Here are the steps involved when processing your claim.
Step 1: Date of the Injury
Your case starts at the moment of your injury, so it’s best to collect yourself as soon as you can and assess the situation, even if it was a traumatic event. In the case of a severe injury, such as breaking a bone from falling into an open manhole, you will want the assistance of a legal professional to submit a claim.
The majority of personal injury law firms will offer a free consultation and assess the extent of your injuries and the validity of your claim. If your injury attorney feels you have a case, they will begin the filing process for you. A significant injury can result in a loss of income and extensive medical treatment you cannot afford. Your accident attorney will ensure that your settlement figure includes damages for economic losses.
Step 2: Engaging a Personal Injury Attorney
After your injury, you will take a few days to find a Miami uneven sidewalk attorney and present them with the evidence surrounding your case. It is best to do this as soon as possible, as the longer you wait, the more challenging it may be to prove your case.
Upon visiting your attorney, they will assess your injury and calculate a reasonable figure for damages that include any medical bills not covered by your insurance company, as well as expenses and rehabilitation.
Hiring an attorney takes the hassle out of the situation. They will earn a small portion of your settlement, but it is well worth the investment considering they will be able to maximize the size of your settlement.
Step 3: Your Complaint is Filed and Served
After your consultation, your injury attorney will determine the validity of your claim. If they decide it has merit, then they will begin collecting evidence, proving liability, and filing your personal injury complaint with the correct department within the municipality.
Filing the complaint is the first official step in the litigation process. At this point, your attorney will do the majority of the work and see the claim through to settlement.
Step 4: The Negotiation
Before going to court, your attorney will meet with representatives of the municipality and try to negotiate terms for settlement out of court. This part of the process is where having an accident attorney on retainer helps your cause.
Your attorney has skills in the art of negotiating personal injury cases similar to yours. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge in handling personal injury cases.
Your attorney understands the stalling tactics employed by legal teams to delay settlement and will have a strategy ready to deal with this type of situation.
You may or may not have to attend the negotiations with your attorney. However, if you do have to be present at the meetings, your attorney will do all the talking for you.
With the right legal counsel at your side, you don’t have to worry about the intimidation tactics employed by municipal attorneys. Your attorney will protect your interests every step of the way.
Step 5: Settlement of Your Claim
The majority of claims for personal injuries occurring at the hands of negligent municipalities settle out of court.
However, it’s important to note that the city has a legal team of its own. If you decide to sue the local government for a significant amount, you can expect some pushback from the other side.
Choosing to file, negotiate, and settle your claim yourself is a risky strategy. If you come up against a team of seasoned accident attorneys, they may use loopholes in the system to delay or never pay the settlement. This is the primary reason why it is important to employ the help of a Miami uneven sidewalk lawyer.
At any point in the early stages of the process, the defendant has the opportunity to end the litigation before it starts and settle the claim. However, municipalities generally have legal teams on retainer, and you can expect some pushback from their attorneys.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle Your Claim
Living in the digital age means constant communication. This lifestyle often results in being wrapped up in a mobile world when walking down the street. In this state, it’s easy to be distracted and miss sidewalk and street defects that can cause an injury.
Even if you’re talking on your phone or texting as you travel, you have the right to a safe environment. Constantly worrying about street hazards is not part of living in the world’s most prosperous nation.
You are entitled to compensation for injuries at the hands of negligent government officials that fail to take their duty or responsibility to the city seriously.
Miami municipalities spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars on street and sidewalk maintenance every year. Therefore, as a tax-paying citizen, you deserve well-maintained public areas.
Find a personal injury attorney in Miami who has an excellent record of providing their clients with favorable settlement figures. Your accident attorney takes the hassle out of filing your claim and negotiating your settlement.
Selecting the right injury attorney to handle your case is possibly the most critical component in receiving the settlement figure you expect.
Don’t be a victim—get the justice and settlement you deserve, call our office now and speak to a competent personal injury attorney about your case.