Tripped on a Sidewalk...

by JoEllen
(Wheat Ridge, CO)

I fell down in front of my daughter's friend's house when I was picking her up. I tripped on an area of sidewalk that was jutting up. I fell flat on my chest. I now have a massive bruise under my right breast and a bruise on my hand - not sure if I have a fractured hand.

I have health insurance but it is a $5,000 deductible. The father of my daughter's friend even admitted that he needed to fix the sidewalk because others have fallen too. I am in a lot of pain and don't know what to do. I feel I really need to be seen for my injuries. Can I get medical help for my injuries without using my own insurance? How do I do it? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Tripped on a Sidewalk...":

JoEllen (Wheat Ridge, CO):

If your injury occurred on property owned by your daughter's friend or her parents or legal guardians, you may be entitled to a claim against their homeowners insurance policy. The good thing about homeowners insurance is that proving negligence is not a prerequisite for liability. The mere injuries themselves, if they occurred on the property owned by the homeowner, is sufficient to pursue a personal injury claim.

Before worrying about the insurance money and probable liability of your daughter's friend, her parents or legal guardians as the case may be, you need to seek medical attention for your injuries.

If the sidewalk upon where you fell is owned by the city you may have to file what is called a "Tort Claim" against the city, county, or state which is responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk. To do so you will need to start by contacting the city of Wheat Ridge to see if they are responsible for the sidewalk maintenance. If they aren't they will surely tell you which governmental agency is.

There is a Tort Claims process by which you must comply. Whether it is with the city, county, or state, you need to start by contacting them and asking them to mail or email the Tort Claim form to you. That is the beginning of your claim for damages.

Your best shot will be if that portion of the sidewalk and its maintenance are the responsibility of the homeowner. Check with the homeowners. Ask them for the name, policy number, and telephone number of their homeowner's insurance company. If they won't voluntarily comply you may have to consider legal action with a personal injury lawyer.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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