Did You Know Charlotte Will Repair Your Broken Sidewalk?

Repairing a Broken SidewalkAs personal injury lawyers, we take sidewalk damage seriously because we know what kind of injuries broken and cracked sidewalks can cause. What you may not know, though, is that while you are responsible for keeping your sidewalks clear, you don’t have to repair them if they’re broken: the City does.

According to the City of Charlotte’s website, CDOT’s Street Maintenance Division is responsible for ensuring that all streets and sidewalks are maintained throughout the year, which includes fixing potholes, asphalt, sidewalks, and storm drains.

  • If you have a broken sidewalk needing repair, click this link, fill in the information, and submit the form.
  • If you have an obstructed sidewalk, click this link.

Why should I care about sidewalk repair in Charlotte?

Sidewalks in good condition are safer for pedestrians. They reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls. They also protect you, as a property owner, from liability for the harm of others.

In North Carolina, cities can be held responsible if you slip and fall on a sidewalk. According to N.C.G.S. 160A-296,North Carolina cities have a duty to “keep the public streets, sidewalks, alleys, and bridges in proper repair” and  “free from unnecessary obstructions.” If your slip and fall accident occurred on a public sidewalk needing repair, the city could be liable for your injuries and losses.

However, slips, trips, falls, and other incidents involving dangerous sidewalks may be the fault of private property owners. For example, if you plant a tree in your front yard and the roots bring up the sidewalk, and someone trips over that raised piece of concrete, you could be liable. Or, in the relatively rare circumstances where it snows in Charlotte, you (as a property owner) are responsible for clearing that snow and ice; if a pedestrian slips on an icy sidewalk in front of your home, you may be found liable.

What is a premises liability case?

In a premises liability case, a victim seeks to hold the property owner liable for injuries sustained while on their property. Most individuals who have been hurt on a broken or cracked sidewalk pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner. In order to prevail in a premises liability claim, you must prove that the city or private property owner:

  • Owed you a duty of care
  • Breached their duty
  • The breach directly caused your accident and injuries
  • The accident and injuries led to your losses

Do I have to pay for the repair?

No, you don’t. The City of Charlotte pays for all sidewalk repairs.

What types of repairs will the City of Charlotte make?

Charlotte will fix:

  • Displacement issues, where a block of concrete is raised higher than the rest of the sidewalk
  • Sinking (called “heaving” or “subsiding”) of a concrete block
  • Pitch issues, where the concrete allows water or runoff to drain into your lawn as opposed to into the streets
  • Cracks and chips in the sidewalk pads themselves
  • Gaps between the concrete pads
  • Obstructions, usually caused by debris or by landscaping that needs to be trimmed

What should I do if I’ve been injured on a broken sidewalk in Charlotte, NC?

If you were recently injured on a broken sidewalk, there are six steps that you should take:

  1. Take photos or videos of the broken sidewalk: If you are able to do so, take photos and videos of the broken sidewalk to serve as evidence the sidewalk was broken, uneven, or cracked, which led to your accident. Don’t wait to do this because the city may fix the sidewalk, which could weaken your case.
  2. Exchange contact information with witnesses: If you see any witnesses nearby who may have seen your fall, exchange contact information with them so that your attorney can ask whether they would be willing to give a statement about what happened.
  3. Seek medical attention: One of the most important steps you should take is to seek medical attention. Call an ambulance or have a friend or family member drive you(or drive yourself) to the nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic. Your medical records and doctor’s notes can serve as proof that you were hurt and required medical attention for your injuries.
  4. Save your clothing: Save your clothing, particularly if it has e blood or debris on it, as evidence that you fell on the sidewalk. If there is surveillance footage and your clothing on the video may indicate that it was you who fell on the sidewalk.
  5. Start documenting your injuries and what happened: Write down what happened during the accident, the injuries you suffered, and the symptoms you are experiencing. This documentation is crucial to your case because it explains what happened, how it happened, and how you have suffered.
  6. Hire a Charlotte injury attorney: You want a lawyer who has experience not only with premises liability claims, but also with fall injuries. Falls are one of the most common causes of injury, so it can be easy to forget (or for an insurance company, to ignore) just how serious and traumatic they are.

Dangerous sidewalks put folks at risk. We encourage anyone who sees a broken or cracked sidewalk to contact the City of Charlotte and report it for repairs. In the meantime, if you or your loved one suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, we’d like to help. The Charlotte premises liability lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates can building a strong case against the negligent property owner. To schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers, call our office or submit our contact form today. We are located in Rockingham, Charlotte, and Rutherfordton.