May 13, 2016

If the sidewalk outside of someone’s home is cracked and in poor repair, it may be slightly annoying. However, it may not be something he or she is really interested in fixing. The repair job may be too expensive, the person may be planning on moving — and therefore hesitant to make long-term repairs — or he or she may just not feel like putting in the time and effort. The homeowner may believe that it’s up to the city to make the repairs.

The thing that people need to remember, though, is that repairing the sidewalk may subject them to liability if someone is injured on it If maintenance is not done, those who are injured may be able to seek compensation through a premises liability case.

There is significant precedent for this in Pennsylvania. Back in 1998, a woman was walking along a cracked sidewalk when she tripped and fell. She hurt her shoulder and her wrist, and four of her teeth were knocked out.

Considering these substantial injuries and the monetary costs that went along with them, she decided to sue the people who owned the adjacent house. The case was finally decided in 2004, and she won. The court ruled that the three family members who owned the house were primarily liable.

If you’ve been injured because someone else did not take proper care of their property when they had plenty of time to do so, you need to know your rights. As this case shows, those who avoid maintenance for any reason may be responsible for the injuries that take place and the costs that go along with them.

Source: FIndLaw, “Walker v. Eleby,” accessed May 13, 2016