The Federal Highway Administration started taking measures to improve pedestrian safety in 2004. The goal was to reduce the number of deaths occurring on streets and sidewalks. Despite that, the number of pedestrian fatalities continues to increase.
In 2016, close to 6,000 pedestrians were killed and that was a 9% increase from 2015. Many of these accidents happen at night and for different reasons. One of the reasons is a trip and fall on uneven roads and sidewalks. At night when lighting is often muted or shadowy, it can be hard to notice a crack that could catch a heel or bicycle tire or raised section of pavement that catches the toe and causes a trip and fall accident. Even in the daylight, people would have to be looking down for obstacles instead of ahead of them, and that’s risky. If you trip on a road or sidewalk, what should you do?
Assess Your Injuries
Don’t move until you’ve assessed your potential injuries. Adrenaline may keep you from feeling pain, so don’t assume that you’re fine. Stop and focus on the areas that hit the pavement where you fell. If you hit your head, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any head injuries. If you fell on your side, you may have cracked a rib or two or fractured your arm or hip. If you’re not alone, you could have someone else call paramedics for you. If you’re alone and can use your phone, make the call.
It’s better to use services that are available to you than to risk further injuring yourself. If the paramedics say you’re okay, they’ll tell you things to watch for in the next day. They may recommend you go to the ER for x-rays or scans. Listen to their expert advice. Keep copies of any recommendations, medical bills, and supplies you had to buy or rent while you recovered such as crutches.
Get Photos and Witness Names
Take photos of the sidewalk or road if you can. If not, get a friend or witness to do it for you. You’ll want photos to prove your case against the property owner, city, or town. Get names and contact information for any witnesses who say you trip and fall.
Figure Out Who to Notify
Call the City/Town or property owner to report that you fell and were injured. If the fall was in a store parking lot, go to the store and file an accident report. If it was a city or town road or sidewalk, ask to file an accident report with the clerk or find out the property owner’s name.
Who you file an injury report with depends on the town or city ordinances. For example, property owners in Denver are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of sidewalks adjacent to their property. Public Works notifies homeowners who need to have their sidewalks repaired so there may be a record of the needed repairs in the Public Works’ records.
Roads are owned by the town/city and will likely be under their jurisdiction. There are some exceptions to this. If you’re on a lane leading into a shopping center, the owner of the shopping center may be liable for your injuries.
File the Injury Report
Once you’ve found who to file the report with, get that report submitted ASAP. Keep a copy for your own records. Get the name of the person you hand it to. If you mailed it in, use certified/return receipt service to have a copy that it was received.
For the injury report, you’ll want to have names of witnesses handy, any photos you took, medical bills, and your account of what happened. Fill out the paperwork honestly and completely. Look it back over before submitting it to make sure you didn’t overlook a question.
Contact a Lawyer
Contact a personal injury attorney. Attorneys have insight into the exact laws and requirements and can help you file a claim if needed. They’ll advocate on your behalf to make sure your bills and lost wages are paid. You shouldn’t have to suffer financially because someone was negligent when it came to the upkeep of a sidewalk or road.
Jordan Law helps clients get a fair settlement in personal injury cases caused by another party’s negligence. A trip and fall on an uneven sidewalk or street can lead to severe injuries. Head injuries and fractures can put you out of work for days, weeks, or even months. Add the loss of income to your medical bills and it’s understandable that you’re upset. Speak to our personal injury attorneys to discuss your options during a free consultation.