Wet Sidewalks Are Hazardous for Colorado Pedestrians
Coloradans are not strangers to hazardous sidewalks. We’re used to severe weather all year round, whether it’s thunderstorms in the summer or blizzards in the winter. These extremes mean that even something as simple as walking down the street can lead to unfortunate accidents.
We don’t really think about “Who’s to blame?” for a poorly maintained sidewalk until someone has been hurt. Rather than put that conversation off until you or a loved one has been hurt, we’re going to discuss it now.
Slip-and-Falls Are Dangerous
While it may not seem like a big deal, falling on a sidewalk can lead to serious injuries that require hospitalization or worse. In the United States, falls are the number one culprit for traumatic brain injury (TBI) – over 1.3 million people received fall-related TBIs in 2013 alone!
Victims may believe that they have no recourse when they’ve been injured in a public place, but that’s not necessarily true! Colorado laws protect victims. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another party, then you have the ability to seek compensation.
Wet or Icy Sidewalks Lead to Worse Injuries
While most falls might only result in a few bruises, hit the ground the wrong way and those bruises can become breaks very quickly. Wet or icy sidewalks often catch pedestrians by surprise, resulting in an unexpected, unprotected fall. Typical injuries include:
- sprained or broken ankles
- knee injuries
- strained backs
- fractured bones, especially wrists or elbows
In the worst cases, slip-and-fall accidents can result in spinal injuries or brain trauma. These injuries can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis or diminished use of your arms or legs. Head injuries from falls range from minor concussions to permanent brain damage. These injuries are associated with all sorts of long-term conditions, such memory loss, mood swings, depression, and impaired mental and physical faculties.
Injuries such as the above can require long hospital stays and lengthy rehabilitation. Victims might suffer lost wages, loss of employment, and diminished earning capacity over their lifetime. The financial repercussions can follow them for years to come
What Can You Do If You Fall on a Public Sidewalk?
So what recourse does a person have in the event of an accident on a public sidewalk? In Colorado, determining who is responsible for maintaining a public sidewalk in front of private property can be quite complicated, and varies from city to city. For example, in Colorado Springs, city codes state that residential property owners have 24 hours after a snowfall to clean the walkways for which they are responsible. Businesses have until 5 p.m. the day following the end of the snowfall. Of special note, though, is the fact that under Colorado’s government immunity laws (CRS § 24-10-109), a victim has only 180 days from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim against a government institution such as a school, post office, or municipal building. The statute of limitations for non-government entities, whether businesses or private individuals, is two years.
This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an icy slip-and-fall accident, it’s crucial that you act quickly. At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys are committed to helping victims receive full and fair compensation. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact one of our friendly representatives today at (719) 475-2555.