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Who is liable for sidewalk injuries in Washington, D.C.?

To determine who may be liable for your injuries that you suffered due to a broken down or ill-repaired sidewalk, you need to know about premises liability laws in Washington, D.C. There are several factors that can affect your case. For instance, were you trespassing when you were hurt? If so, it may be damaging to your case, but it's also possible that it won't matter. That's because if a business owner knows a person could easily trespass in an area, he or she should try to give a reasonable warning about the risk of injury.

The condition of the property is important. Is the sidewalk being maintained by the business in question? For example, if you go to a local supermarket and trip on a sidewalk connected to the store and in the parking lot, it's probably owned by them. Sidewalks by the roadside are more than likely owned and repaired by the local or state government. Knowing who owns and is liable for the property is one of the first things you need to figure out.

It's a business' job to make sure that it cares for its property and keeps it safe for those who visit. If a sidewalk leading up to the business is cracked or damaged and someone trips, it's possible that the person could choose to seek compensation for their injuries.

However, if the person was intoxicated when he fell, then the business may not be held liable for the injury. In most cases where the victim was not acting recklessly, the business should be prepared to answer for the lack of repairs on its property.

Source: FindLaw, "Premises Liability: Who Is Responsible?" accessed Mar. 19, 2015

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