Snow and ice are rarely a concern for Georgia residents, but that does not mean that they should be unconcerned about slip-and-fall accidents that occur on sidewalks adjacent to their property. Many people assume that local authorities are responsible for maintaining and repairing sidewalks, but property owners also have their part to play. While homeowner’s insurance policies usually cover sidewalk accidents, the amount of coverage they provide may not always be sufficient.
Those who are concerned about incurring liability for accidents on their property may wish to contact their local authorities to determine what is expected of them. While homeowners are unlikely to be required to undertake construction projects, cash-strapped municipalities across the country have been seeking to shift the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance and repairs to property owners in recent years. Insurance companies may also cancel coverage or deny claims in situations where property owners were aware of dangerous conditions and did not take steps to remedy them.
Those injured in sidewalk slip-and-fall accidents may file lawsuits against both municipalities and property owners when their injuries could have been prevented. Property owners may be liable if they failed to clear debris from the sidewalk or allowed plants and trees on their property to become a hazard to foot traffic.
Property owners and local authorities often blame slip-and-fall accidents on carelessness on the part of the victim. While this may be true at times, in many situations an accident could have been prevented if reasonable steps had been taken. An attorney with experience in premises liability litigation will likely be familiar with the common tactic of blaming the victim, and the attorney could counter these arguments by providing evidence that an accident was preventable. An attorney may discover that other pedestrians had been injured in the same location or that complaints had been previously received about a dangerous condition.