Category: California Personal Injury

Can I Sue the Government If I Trip and Fall On the Sidewalk?

The short answer is yes. You can sue the government if you trip and fall on a sidewalk. The long answer is it depends on several factors that determine if you will be successful in a claim against the government for an injury sustained from falling on a sidewalk. These factors include what type of case it is, what evidence you have to prove the government’s fault, and if you have standing to sue.  

What Type of Case Is It?

A trip and fall on a sidewalk is a personal injury claim. In legal terms, these types of accidents are called slip and falls. You and your attorney will need to research the appropriate defendant. Remember that the government will only be responsible for injuries that happen on public walkways and sidewalks. If your injury occurred on a private walkway, you will not be able to sue the government.

Once you know the appropriate local government entity to sue, you will need to file your claim in civil court. There are several things that you and your attorney will need to prove to show that your injuries were caused by the government entity and that they should compensate you because of it.

What Do You Need to Prove to Sue the Government?

In most personal injury claims, including slip and falls, you will need to be able to prove negligence on behalf of the person you are suing. Negligence is a failure of a person or entity to behave to a certain level of care that another person or entity would usually perform at. In basic terms, this means that the entity did not act as a comparable entity would act in the same circumstances.

To prove negligence, you will need to show that there was both a duty of care and that there was a breach of that care. Duty of care means that someone has a responsibility to not cause harm to another. This can also mean that an entity has a responsibility to make sure harm is not caused by their action or inaction on a matter. In a slip and fall on a sidewalk, the duty of care would be what type of responsibility the government has to make the sidewalk safe for individuals.

A breach of that care means that you have established a duty of care and the level of care was not met. The person or entity responsible for that care has then breached their duty. In a sidewalk slip and fall, this could be for a number of reasons including not maintaining the sidewalk or having hazards on the walkway that make it dangerous for pedestrians. Additionally, there could be a defect in the way and manner that it was built.

When Can You Sue the Government?

First, there must be negligence by the government that caused your slip and fall on the sidewalk. If there is no negligence, you will not be successful in your lawsuit. Second, you must have standing to sue. This means that you are the person who was injured, there was an actual measurable injury, and the entity you are suing is responsible for your injury.

Even if you can prove that there is negligence, there are still issues that you may encounter that make suing the government impossible. For example, many state and local governments have specific rules about suing them for a personal injury. These are usually strict procedural steps that must be followed to be able to get any damages for your injury. Government entities usually also have limits on how much money you can recover and on the time you have to make a claim.  

The most common reason for a slip and fall on a public sidewalk is weather conditions like ice, snow, or rain. In general, a state or local government is not responsible for keeping sidewalks clear in front of private residences. They are however usually responsible for clearing sidewalks in commercial areas. This means that where you got injured also matters on whether you can sue or not.

Why Sue the Government For a Slip and Fall Injury?

Most people make the decision to sue someone or an entity for an injury for two main reasons. One, they suffered an injury and they want compensation to help pay for medical bills and other things like lost wages they couldn’t make while they were recovering. Another reason is that people want to make sure that the unsafe condition that led to their injury won’t reoccur and hurt anyone else.

 Regardless of why they sue, it is possible to make a claim against the government for a slip and fall on a sidewalk if all of these conditions are met.

5 Steps to Take After a Swimming Pool Accident

Swimming pools can be a great source of fun and entertainment for the entire family. However, at the same time, swimming pools can be incredibly dangerous. Every year, hundreds of people are injured and killed because of swimming pool accidents. Many of these victims, sadly, are young children

Even when swimming pool accidents aren’t fatal, the consequences can still be devastating. Injuries can follow a child for the rest of their life. That’s why the steps you take in the minutes, hours, and days after an accident involving a swimming pool matter. 


Here are five things you should absolutely keep in mind if you or a loved one is involved in a swimming pool accident.

Get to the Doctor or Hospital Immediately

Prompt medical care is critical for anyone who has been involved in a swimming pool accident. This is particularly true for children and victims who were submerged in the water for an extended period of time. Getting to a hospital right away reduces the risk of severe, potentially life-threatening complications.

Report the Accident to Local Authorities

While you might not want to call the cops on your friends, family, or neighbors, it’s important to make sure that the accident is reported and documented. A police officer can be dispatched to the scene of the accident to conduct a preliminary investigation and write up a report.

This report can help to make sure that important details relevant to the accident are preserved. You might not remember what the weather was like or the time of day when the accident occurred. However, a police report will typically reflect this kind of information. 

Document the Scene of the Accident Immediately

When someone has a swimming pool on their premises – whether it’s a hotel, apartment complex, or private homeowner – they have a responsibility to protect guests from foreseeable harm. Taking certain steps can help to reduce the risk of accidents and keep guests safe.

For example, someone who has a swimming pool would want to ensure that the motor and pump are functioning properly and that the pool is fenced off to prevent unintended guests from falling in. Sadly, many swimming pool accidents occur because property owners fail to take the steps that are necessary to keep their premises safe.

When you or a loved one is injured in a swimming pool accident on someone else’s property, you might have a legitimate claim for damages. In order for a claim or lawsuit to be successful, you’ll have to prove that you (or your child) got hurt because the pool’s owner was negligent in some way. Gathering evidence before it has a chance to disappear can make or break your case.

So, after an accident, try to take photos of the swimming pool and the surrounding area. You should concentrate on the location where the injury occurred. Look for puddles of water, loose wires or cords, missing fence, and swimming toys and flotation devices. Document as much as possible. Your attorney can review the photos at a later time and determine if you’ve caught any proof of negligence on tape.

Don’t Admit Fault or Talk About the Accident

After an accident, the best rule of thumb is to keep quiet. Don’t apologize if you think that you’re (at least partly) to blame for the accident. Homeowners, property owners, and insurance companies will try to use an apology – however innocent – to deny liability. If you sustain severe injuries, you might want to pursue compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, if you admit fault, you could undercut your ability to get a financial award.

So, what should you do? Answer any basic questions you’re asked, but don’t expand and offer details. Direct any detailed or invasive questions to your attorney. Refuse the urge to accept a settlement offer, especially if it’s extended shortly after you or a loved one gets hurt. You want to know for sure that any offer you accept will cover all of the costs of your accident. That takes time and a little bit of outside assistance.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Some law firms handle almost any case that walks through the door. They’ll negotiate contracts, defend clients against criminal charges, and handle personal injury claims. Your swimming pool accident is too important to entrust to anyone who is not focused solely on personal injury law. When law firms only represent accident victims, they’ll have experience and knowledge that can directly benefit you. That can put you in the best possible position to secure a substantial monetary award.

See a Doctor After Your Accident. Your Health and Injury Claim Will Thank You

Going to the hospital is one of the most important things you can do after a car accident. This is true even if you don’t think that you’ve been injured badly in the crash. In fact, it may be even more important to go if you think you’re okay. Why? There are three primary reasons.

Three Reasons You Need to See a Doctor Immediately After an Accident

First, if left untreated, injuries can pose a serious threat to your health and safety. Going to the doctor right away will help to rule out any internal injuries that wouldn’t have been able to identify on your own. Your doctor can make sure that you get the medical treatment you need to keep you safe.

Second, going to the hospital will help to establish a link between the accident and your injuries. You’re only entitled to recover compensation for injuries that were caused by your accident. According to Boris Lavent, a car accident lawyer, “Getting your injuries documented right away will help to strengthen the argument that they were a result of the crash.”

Lavent added,  “The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more vulnerable your claim begins.” The defendant may argue that there’s no hard evidence to show that the accident caused your injuries. A medical evaluation completed shortly after your accident will help to support your case.

Third, seeing a doctor for an assessment will help to show that you took reasonable steps to identify your injuries after the accident. This is important, because some injuries may not be evident right away. In fact, you may think that you’re perfectly fine until days, weeks, or months later when you begin to experience symptoms.

In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit for damages after an accident. What happens if you don’t realize that you’ve been injured until the deadline to file has come and gone? Delayed discovery of your injuries could allow you to file a lawsuit after the initial statute of limitations has expired.

However, it’s important to note that you must have failed to discover the injury despite reasonable efforts to do so.

Car Accident Injuries That May Not Show Up Right Away

Some car accident injuries will be very obvious after an accident. You’ll probably know that you’ve broken a bone or dislocated a joint. However, other injuries may not be clear to you right away. In fact, you may not even begin to experience symptoms until long after the accident.

Soft Tissue Injury: Soft tissue injuries involve damage to the muscle, tendons, and/or ligaments. This can include bruising, sprains, strains, and whiplash. That’s right. Whiplash, one of the most common car accident injuries, is a soft tissue injury that often goes unnoticed right away.

It’s important to keep an eye out for any common signs of a soft tissue injury, including limited mobility, painful movement, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and swelling.

Head Injury: Sometimes car accident victims will not know that they’ve suffered a serious head injury. This is particularly true if the victim did not seek medical attention after their accident. It’s also easy to dismiss the symptoms of a head injury.

A victim may simply believe that their discomfort is normal or brought on by stress. In truth, however, signs of a head injury likely indicate that you have a head injury. Seek medical attention immediately if you begin to experience headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, limited mobility, unexplained anger or irritability, or seizures.

Emotional Trauma: You’re not only at risk of suffering physical injuries in a car accident. Victims, particularly those involved in violent crashes, can experience severe emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is incredibly common after an accident.

However, the signs and symptoms of PTSD often take time to manifest. A victim may not truly identify the extent of their trauma until long after the accident. Signs of PTSD may include guilt, loneliness, withdrawal from social activities, hostility and agitation, insomnia, and flashbacks.

Back Injury: A car accident can be very violent. Your body can be subjected to extreme shock and trauma. This can pose a threat to your back and spine. However, you may not notice that you’ve suffered a back injury until the accident is in your rearview mirror.

Back injuries can, and often do, become worse over time. It’s important to make sure that your injury is treated promptly. See a doctor if you experience a loss of mobility or begin to experience swelling, bruising, or pain in the back.

When you’re injured in a car accident you may have the right to recover compensation. You can maximize your financial award by supporting your case with as much evidence as possible. Medical records and reports can be incredibly persuasive when your attorney is at the negotiating table. Take the time to see a doctor after your accident. You’ll be able to keep yourself safe and strengthen your legal case at the same time.