We tend to go about our daily activities, taking for granted how simple it is to walk across the street or walk along the sidewalk. For individuals with disabilities, the path may not be as easy or safe to navigate. Cities and towns are responsible for ensuring sidewalks and ramps are properly designed, well-maintained, and free of hazards. Yet, a federal lawsuit brought against Philadelphia claims the city’s failure to maintain safe sidewalks poses a risk to the estimated 186,000 residents with limited mobility.
Earlier this year, four individuals and multiple advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court claiming the city of Philadelphia allowed sidewalks to deteriorate, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal civil rights law which sets accessibility standards for public spaces, including specific guidelines for the design of curb ramps.
The claim alleged that because Philadelphia allowed sidewalks to sink into disrepair, disabled individuals were not only having difficulty navigating around the city but have been injured as well. One plaintiff suffered a head injury after hitting a bump in his wheelchair and falling to the ground. In another incident, a wheelchair tipped over on uneven pavement, leaving the victim to wait on the ground for assistance.
For the claim against the city of Philadelphia to move forward, negligence must exist. It must be shown the city was aware or should have been aware of cracked, uneven pavement, and ramps that fell short of ADA specifications. Filing a claim with a state or local government is different than other types of personal injury claims, as each jurisdiction has their own reporting procedure. There is usually a very tight deadline for reporting an accident and a cap on the amount of damages an injured person can receive. If your initial claim goes unaddressed by the city, you are free to move forward with a personal injury claim.
Slip and fall accidents are often caused by the following:
Unsafe conditions alone are not enough to prove a premises liability claim. The injured party must prove the property owner was aware or should have been aware of the risk to visitors yet failed to correct it. Because personal injury claims involving government entities are more complex, anyone injured on a city-maintained space should immediately consult an experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyer for guidance.
We trust the streets and sidewalks around us are safe to travel. When a government agency neglects their duty to protect the public from common hazards, they need to be held accountable. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on public property, the Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP will review every detail of your accident to determine if your injury could have been prevented and who was negligent. For a free consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or contact us online to get started. Located in Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.