Allowing for safe access is a basic expectation for property owners. Both people who own their own homes and businesses open to the public should ensure that visitors to a property don’t face unnecessary risk. Pavement, including sidewalks and parking lots, often plays a key role in providing access to a property. One of the reasons that paved surfaces appeal to urban planners and designers is that they provide a smooth, uniform surface.
Unlike gravel or dirt, cement and pavement is easy for people to cross in wheelchairs and on crutches without losing traction or ending up out of control. Unfortunately, the assumption of a smooth surface can sometimes lead to people getting hurt in parking lots or on sidewalks.
From pedestrians who trip over a raised section of concrete to people in wheelchairs who end up falling out into traffic because of a large pothole, there are many ways that people can get hurt in public spaces because of poorly-maintained sidewalks and parking lots. Sometimes, when people get hurt on someone else’s property, they may have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Englewood passes liability to property owners
It would be all but impossible for municipalities across Colorado to maintain every section of sidewalk, even though sidewalk access to neighborhoods is very important to the public. Municipal codes often specifically address liability, often by passing it to property owners. That is the practice in Englewood.
Those who own the property adjacent to a section of sidewalk are responsible for its maintenance. Whether frost heave or tree roots affect the uniformity of a section of sidewalk, it is incumbent upon the property owner to address the issue in a timely manner. Property owners will need to repair uneven sidewalks or raised concrete. Patching potholes in driveways and parking lots is also important.
Failing to do so will leave them open to liability if someone gets hurt. In many cases, an individual’s homeowner’s insurance will cover premises liability claims, and often businesses have coverage that will reimburse those injured while visiting their premises. Often, a civil lawsuit will be a necessary part of the process when someone gets hurt due to uneven sidewalks or potholes on private property.
Understanding when poor property maintenance may give rise to a premises liability claim can benefit those worried about covering the costs generated after a recent injury.