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.

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you suffered an accident or injury, you are probably wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers deal with a variety of different practice areas including car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and slip and falls. They know the laws and can accurately represent you to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. It can be difficult to know when in the process you need to hire an attorney.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the representation you need; at the time you need it.

Do You Have a Case?

This is the most important step in making a claim, but it is often the most overlooked. Before you can even file a personal injury claim, you must be able to show that there was an actual injury that was caused by someone else. You must also be able to prove that because of the injury you are entitled to some sort of compensation.

There must also be a way to get compensation. For example, if the person who caused the injury is uninsured, it may be difficult to obtain any sort of monetary payment from them. A personal injury lawyer is trained to look at a set of facts and make sure all of these elements are met. They can also consult with you and determine what type of case you should file and when you should file it.

What Are the Time Limits?

There is a statute of limitations for many injuries in California. This is a time limit that dictates how long you have to file certain personal injury claims. For example, in California, most bodily harm injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years after the injury. This means that you have two years to file a personal injury claim from the date of your injury. You will not be able to file a claim after two years.

Medical malpractice personal injury claims must be filed within three years of the injury. However, you may not discover your injury until years after you had surgery. If this is the case, you are allowed to file a claim up to one year after you discover your injury. Meaning, even if you discover your injury several years after the statute of limitations has passed, you still have one year to make a claim.

Consulting a lawyer to find out what the statute of limitations is for your case is an important step. If you wait too long, you may be barred from any recovery. Lawyers also know of ways to possibly extend the time frame. For example, California allows for tolling. This is a delay or pause of the clock that is running on your time limit. Tolling may be an option if there are circumstances out of your control that make it impossible for you to file your claim before your time runs out.

Do You Have to Deal With Insurance Companies?

If you were injured, you more than likely have to deal with an insurance company. The company will request all records that are related to the accident or injury. This can be a drawn-out process.

For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you may be seriously hurt and in a lot of pain. While you want to recover, the insurance company wants to quickly close your claim. If you miss one document or don’t fill something out completely, your claim may be denied or may take longer than usual. This can be detrimental if you are depending on insurance money to pay medical or car repair bills.

It is important to remember that insurance companies are not lawyers working on your behalf. Their bottom line is to save the company money and to provide you with as little compensation as possible. They may raise your rates even though you are not to blame for the accident. This is where a personal injury lawyer can help you. They can act as your advocate with the company and make sure you are heard and that you get maximum compensation.  

What Other Factors are There to Consider?

In California, legally any person can file a personal injury claim without a lawyer. This may be a good option if the injury is minor or insurance is not involved. Be warned though, there will still be a lot of documentation needed and you will still need to provide evidence. If you choose to go this route, a judge will not give you sympathy because you are not an attorney. They will expect you to be as prepared as if you had representation.  

 It is important to meet with an attorney early in your claim. Usually, a personal injury lawyer will provide a low cost or free consult to hear all of the facts of the case and decide if they can help you. If they take your case, they can help you figure out what type of claim to bring and what the time limits are. They can also help you deal with insurance companies and get the compensation you need to recover.