Visitor Question

Is property owner liable for curb that extends into driveway?

Submitted By: Anonymous (California)

I was walking from one parking lot to another. The lots were separated by a short wall.

As I walked along parallel to this wall, in the walkway to exit the first lot and enter the second, I tripped over a curb which extended out about 2 feet beyond the wall.

I was looking at traffic in the driveway right on the other side of the wall, and thus did not see the curb. As a result, I fractured my wrist and was placed in a cast. The curb on the other side of the driveway also extends out, but a shrubbery hedge was planted so that the curb is not a hazard on that side.

I am trying to figure out a way to see if something can be done about this hazard, and possibly see if there is any liability from the property owners. Can anything be done about this? Do I have a case? Thank you.

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 Anonymous,

You may have a viable personal injury claim against the property owner based in the legal doctrine of Premises Liability. Under this doctrine, property owners have a legal duty to do everything within reason to protect persons who are legally upon their property.

When a property owner fails in his or her legal duty to protect those legally upon the property, and as a result a person is unduly harmed or injured, the property owner is said to have “breached” his or her legal duty. That breach is considered negligence.

In your case, the negligence may be in the form of failure to properly light the area around the curb so you could have more easily seen it, failure to place a barrier so you would not have fallen, or failure to otherwise repair or eliminate the protruding curb.

Your injury is serious enough to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Minor injuries like sprains and strains, minor burns, abrasions and the like normally don’t require legal representation because the amount of medical bills and treatment is quite limited.

However, more serious injuries like fractures, serious burns, deep gashes requiring multiple stitches, disfigurement, and the like require legal representation. There is just too much to lose by representing oneself in a serious injury case like yours.

A personal injury attorney will want to make sure you aren’t left with limited mobility because of the fracture, or that you may suffer arthritis in the future directly resulting from the fracture, or that you may have other problems you haven’t thought of.

An attorney can also subpoena video of the area, especially that part which may show the date and time of your injury, and the injury itself.

Contact several personal injury attorneys in your area. Bring along your medical records and bills. Most injury attorneys do to charge for an initial office consultation. Moreover, if an attorney accepts your case, you will not have to pay any legal fees until, and unless the attorney settles your claim or wins it at trial.

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: April 4, 2016

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