We've all walked down streets and noticed the horrible condition of a sidewalk or the steps leading up to a home or business. Usually someone says, "Someone should fix this before an injury happens". And that person is right. If the sidewalk or stairs are on your property, whether a home or a business, you are the one liable if someone should trip over the crack or stumble over upended slate. Depending on the severity of the injury, the amount of the lawsuit can be stiff.
Heavy rain, construction and winter slow plows can all play a part in the damage of a sidewalk. And while it may not be fair the city cracked your sidewalk while plowing or that a construction crew left your driveway damaged, you are the one who will be sued. Yes, you can file a complaint with the city or the construction crew but it take awhile for any response to come and during that time it's not as if you are going to get a waiver claim. As soon as you notice cracks and bumps in your sidewalk or steps, call a repair team right away.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that the city owns the sidewalk. They don't. If the sidewalk in front of your home near the street is in bad condition and a child takes a fall while on his bike you are the one who is liable, not the town or city. The same holds true for businesses. If your business operates out of a building with driveways, stairs and sidewalks, it is your responsibility to keep these in good condition so no one can claim you are responsible for an injury.
If you are waiting for a crew to come repair the stairs or sidewalks, the best way to protect yourself is to mark the damaged area with pylon cones and yellow caution tape. Also, try to find a sign that says Danger or Caution so you can say you did everything you could to warn pedestrians that there was damage to the surface and will have better luck fending off a liability lawsuit
Do a regular check of your exterior and look for anything that could pose a potential threat to pedestrians. You don't want to find out the hard way that the stairs out back were missing a step.
For more information on liability insurance in Connecticut, call: 1-866-479-3327
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