The Fine Print – Injured Wrist, Ready to Collect

sidewalk crack

“Dear Attorney,

Recently, I injured my wrist when I tripped over a big crack in the sidewalk at a local diner. It was dark out, and I did not notice that the pavement was cracked. How do I know if it’s my fault or theirs that I was injured? Thanks!” – L.F. in Matthews

Dear L.F.,

In order to show fault on behalf of a property owner, you have to prove the property owner was negligent and that he or she knew or should have known of the dangerous condition of the sidewalk. To prove this, the law requires four elements: Duty, Breach, Causation, and Damages:

1. Duty – The property owner owed a legal duty to you (the “plaintiff”) under the circumstances;

2. Breach – The property owner breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way;

3. Causation – It was the property owner’s actions (or inaction) that actually caused your injury; and

4. Damages – You were harmed or injured as a result of the property owner’s actions.

Property owners usually owe a duty to those lawfully on their property, which includes a duty to properly maintain the premises. This would include repairing dangerous cracks/holes, maintaining proper lighting, and keeping the property safe in general. If a property owner fails to properly maintain the premises, they have likely breached this duty. Additionally, if this failure to maintain the premises results in an injury, the causation element would possibly be met. Lastly, the damages are likely to be whatever expenses are associated with the treatment of the injury, e.g., medical expenses and lost wages.

However, North Carolina is one of the few states that has contributory negligence. This means that if the injured person (the plaintiff) is found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, they may be barred from recovering damages altogether.

Call (704) 841-0760 today to schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Weaver | Budd to discuss what to do when you get injured.

S. Hunt Harris, Esq. is an attorney at Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law.  To schedule a consultation with him, please call (704) 841-0760. The information contained in this article is general in nature and not to be taken as legal advice, nor to establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and S. Hunt Harris or Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law.

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