Visitor Question

Fell in a hole in the street…

Submitted By: (Richmond BC, Canada)

My husband and I drove up a back alley of an apartment building. I stepped out of the car and fell into a hole in the road. I was in a lot of pain. I’d like to press charges on whomever is responsible for this. I’m just wondering if it’s the city’s responsibility or the apartment’s? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear ,

The question of responsibility for maintaining a specific parcel of real estate, or “real property” lies with the owner of the property.

To determine whether the alleyway is owned by the city, or some other person or entity you can start by calling the city and asking for the Planning and Zoning Department. This is one of the city departments which has immediate access to proof of ownership of a particular parcel of land within the city limits.

If the city owns the property you can pursue a personal injury claim against them. To do so you may have to follow procedures which are different from pursuing a claim against a private individual.

Before taking any legal action though, there must exist what are called “Damages”. Damages are normally determined by the amount of money expended by the injured party.

There is no doubt you suffered serious pain, but if you did not seek medical attention for your pain you probably do not have sufficient damages with which to file a claim. Although your pain constitute damages, the result of the damages is not readily measurable. There is nothing tangible to rely upon when seeking compensation.

If you do report the hole in the ground to the city and the apartment owners and their management, your doing so can have the effect of preventing another person from suffering the same pain you endured, or possibly worse.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 6, 2011

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