Pedestrians who are injured in fall down accidents often ask who is liable for the sidewalk accident. The answer depends on who owns the property adjacent to the sidewalk. In general, under Pennsylvania law, both private individuals and business owners have a duty to maintain sidewalk abutting the property in a reasonably safe manner. Negligent conduct which leads to liability in sidewalk accident case includes things like failing to conduct inspections or failing to correct a known problem in the sidewalk, such as a large gap between concrete blocks, missing concrete, etc.
Is a City/Municipality Liable for a Sidewalk Accident in City Limits? Sidewalk fall accident cases can be complex. Most fall down accident causes are fought on the issue of liability. In addition, sidewalk fall accidents may involve other issues, such as whether the city/municipality is liable.
Under Pennsylvania local government liability law, or what is known as the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, local agencies (i.e., cities, municipalities, etc.) can be held liable for sidewalk accidents which occur within their jurisdictions. However, that liability is secondary to the property owner.
For example, let’s say a pedestrian trips and falls over broken concrete in a sidewalk. The sidewalk abuts a private residence in Township A. If the homeowner is bankrupt and has no means to pay a judgment, then liability of the Township may come into play.
Sidewalk Accident Cases Against Local Government Agencies in PA
Succeeding in a sidewalk accident case against a government agency requires proving a higher level of negligence than in a sidewalk accident case against a private individual or business. This is due to the principle behind government immunity. Government agencies cannot be sued except in specific situations. The legislature crafted certain exceptions to this blanket immunity and in doing so, created a higher bar.
In sidewalk accident cases against Pennsylvania local government agencies, the injured pedestrian must prove that the agency had notice or should have had notice at a sufficient time prior to the incident, such that the agency could have take remedial measures to correct the defect.
Related Pennsylvania Sidewalk Slip & Fall Legal Articles:
- Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Law – Liability of Stores & Businesses
- Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Law – Defendants in a Sidewalk Accident Lawsuit
- Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Law – Local Government Liability
Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident & Fall Lawyers – FREE CONSULTATIONS
For more information, contact our Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyers at 215.925.4451. Our lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience and are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.
The lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:
- PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
- NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities
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