Visitor Question

Tree Roots Damaged Sidewalk Causing Fall…

Submitted By: S (Hackensack, NJ)

I’m the owner of a commercial property New Jersey. A pedestrian tripped and fell on the sidewalk by the building. The city’s tree was overgrown and the roots damaged the sidewalk, pushing up the concrete and making it uneven. I complained about the sidewalk a while ago but city maintenance didn’t fix it.

Am I liable for the pedestrian’s injuries or is the city? I’d appreciate any information you can give about liability in this situation. 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.

Answer

Dear S,

The best way to find out if you’re liable for the pedestrian’s injuries is to look at a survey of your property. If you don’t have one you will be able to gain access to the original survey at your county’s records department.

If the sidewalk is included in the survey as part of your property you may be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. If the sidewalk is not on the survey then the sidewalk is probably owned by the City of Hackensack.

If the sidewalk is part of your property the pedestrian’s injuries should be covered by your commercial property insurance policy.

The next consideration will be the extent of the injuries suffered by the pedestrian. Hopefully the injuries weren’t serious.

Finally, if the sidewalk is on your property and the pedestrian contributed to her injuries you may escape liability. In other words, if the pedestrian was running, instead of walking, or was intoxicated, etc.

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: September 11, 2012

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