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Legal Corner: State of the Sidewalk

Is it my fault if the sidewalk is in disrepair?

Q: Is it my fault if the sidewalk is in disrepair? A guest at a party in Jaime Foxx’s house is suing him for negligently maintaining the sidewalk, because she tripped on it outside his home. She filed a law suit in California seeking $10,000.00 in hospital bills, plus other damages.

A: If this lawsuit had taken place in the City of Alexandria, the answer would depend on who is responsible to maintain the sidewalk, and how long the problem existed. A property owner should perform routine maintenance checks and repairs. If the property abuts a public sidewalk, alert the local authorities to possible hazards.

City of Alexandria on Maintenance of sidewalk:

The Maintenance Division, which is located in the T&ES/RPCA Field Operations building located at 2900 Business Center Drive, provides maintenance and repairs for all City sewers, streets, sidewalks and fire hydrants; maintains stream beds, weirs and stream banks; maintains drainage tunnels, box culverts and storm water pollution removal facilities; maintains bridges; and conducts snow removal and flood control operations. http://alexandriava.gov/tes/info/default.aspx?id=2822

G. Hickman, Attorney
Hickman Law Office, 1000 Queen St., Alexandria, VA 22314
703-748-3001-3001;(Fax) 703-748-3044                                                   

Visit Hickmanlawoffice.com for free tips and advice or email info@hickmanlawoffice.com.

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Shaun Moshasha January 24, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Hmm that's interesting to know! I'd be interested to know what happens with Jamie Foxx's case. What might a judge consider "negligent maintenance?" Also, how can I find out whether or not the sidewalk is my responsibility and my property?
Gwendolyn M. Hickman January 24, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Contact the county to find out if maintaining the sidewalk is your responsibility, and under what circumstances. Better to know before a mishap occurs.
Linda Kelly January 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM
county?
Gwendolyn M. Hickman January 25, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Contact the county where the property is located to find out more information
Linda Kelly January 25, 2013 at 02:58 PM
City of Alexandria residents will have a very hard time finding their county contact information : )
Sarah haut January 25, 2013 at 05:00 PM
I'm guessing that City of Alexandria residents are responsible for the repair of sidewalks on their property and not the sidewalks that are adjacent to the street. Residents are responsible for keeping the sidewalks in front of their property (but that belong to the city) free of snow and ice in the winter. One of my biggest pet peeves is property owners who have installed sump pumps that empty water out onto the sidewalk instead of in their yards or in the street. In the winter, that sump pump water freezes on the sidewalk and pedestrians slip and fall.
Blane Adcock January 25, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Exactly! I have warned neighbors with their sump pumps of the same exact danger. Most of the time it isn't a problem, but this week there are sheets of very slick ice coating sections of the sidewalk. I daresay one slip and injury could result in a serious claim against their homeowner's insurance. I really have a pet peeve against folks who can't seem to get their sidewalks clear after a snowstorm. The dusting we got yesterday should have really been swept up by this morning. The city never seems to get around to citing people for this though -not enough money in it I suppose.
Kim Moore January 27, 2013 at 01:46 AM
For 12 years, we have been asking the City to fix our sidewalks. The constant response is that it is our problem. We have two blocks of concrete "moguls" that the City created in 1944 when our homes were built. Since we are on the 700-1,000 block of Mt. Vernon Ave., right near the Metro, you would think that Alexandria would want to improve walk-ability. It is a hazardous lawsuit waiting to happen.
Kristen January 30, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Is Legal Corner new for Old Town Alexandria Patch? If so, I hope it becomes a regular feature!
Masood T. April 30, 2013 at 12:55 AM
What legal action should I take if I fall on a public sidewalk due to improper maintenance?
Gwendolyn M. Hickman April 30, 2013 at 03:01 PM
HLO says: If you are injured, seek medical help and gather your medical bills and records. Also, see a lawyer.

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