Charleston SC sidewalks can be a danger to walk on. Historic Pavers, slate, stone and other uneven surfaces contribute to slip, trip, and fall injuries.

How to Seek Compensation for Sidewalk Injuries in Charleston

Sidewalk injuries in South Carolina can lead to severe consequences, including fractures, head injuries, and long-term disability, impacting a victim’s quality of life and financial stability. When these accidents occur, determining liability is complex. Responsibility may fall on various entities, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, county governments, or city administrations, depending on where the incident happened and the state of the sidewalk. Each party has a duty to maintain safe pathways for pedestrians, and their failure to do so can be grounds for filing a claim.

Given the complexity of navigating claims involving multiple potential at-fault parties, hiring an experienced injury attorney is crucial. A knowledgeable lawyer can identify the responsible parties, establish negligence, and ensure all procedural requirements are met. This legal support is vital in advocating for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from a sidewalk injury, taking prompt legal action can be the most effective step toward recovery and justice.

What Are The Sidewalk Requirements in Charleston?

With its historical charm, Charleston’s sidewalks present unique challenges for maintaining safe walking surfaces. The ASTM F1637-21: Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces provides guidelines emphasizing the importance of keeping walkways free of hazards to prevent injuries. This standard is critical as it is a benchmark for safety, particularly in a city like Charleston, where the sidewalks range from modern concrete to antique brick pavers, slate, and large stones. While aesthetically pleasing, these materials often lead to uneven surfaces that can be treacherous to navigate, especially when walking in less practical footwear like high heels while admiring the many tourist attractions or during adverse weather conditions.

The diverse materials and the historic nature of many pathways mean that ensuring compliance with safe walking standards is a continual challenge. This complexity highlights the necessity for pedestrians who suffer injuries to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney. A lawyer experienced in this area can offer crucial guidance and representation, helping victims navigate the legal nuances to secure the compensation they deserve.

Parties Potentially Responsible for Sidewalk Injuries

Depending on the location and ownership of the property where the accident happened, several parties could be held liable when a sidewalk injury occurs. 

  • Local government. The City of Charleston may be responsible for public sidewalk maintenance. The city could be liable if an injury resulted from neglected upkeep or failure to address known hazards.
  • South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). The SCDOT might be accountable for sidewalks alongside state-managed roads. Their obligations include ensuring that these areas adhere to safety standards and are adequately maintained.
  • County authorities. The relevant county authority is tasked with maintaining sidewalks in areas under county jurisdiction. Like city and state bodies, they must ensure they are safe for public use.
  • Private property owners. Adjacent to private properties, owners might be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. This is particularly true if the sidewalk directly abuts their property and they have created or ignored potential hazards.
  • Business owners. Similar to private homeowners, business operators whose properties’ front sidewalks must manage these areas to prevent hazards. This duty is especially pertinent in high-traffic commercial zones where the risk of injury increases.

Determining who the responsible party is requires a thorough investigation into the location of the incident and the specific circumstances leading to the injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can play a pivotal role in this process. They have the skills to investigate the claim, identify the liable parties, and articulate the breach of duty. Legal representation is not just beneficial but critical in cases where multiple potential defendants and complex property ownership issues can obscure liability. 

Evidence in a Charleston Sidewalk Injury Claim

In Charleston, pursuing a sidewalk injury lawsuit requires thorough evidence collection to demonstrate the failure to maintain safe walking conditions outlined by ASTM F1637-21. This standard addresses crucial safety aspects, such as proper illumination, level changes on walkways, and the use of mats and runners, all of which significantly influence the risk of accidents.

For instance, Section 5.5.1 of ASTM F1637-21 mandates adequate illumination for walkways and parking lots to prevent accidents that could occur in overcast or dark conditions. Evidence of poor lighting conditions can be crucial in establishing negligence in a sidewalk injury claim. Additionally, the standard specifies that any walkway level change greater than ¼ of an inch must be managed appropriately to minimize tripping hazards. Gathering evidence such as photographs, maintenance records, or incident reports can support claims related to these hazards.

Moreover, the recent updates to ASTM F1637-21, including regulations on protrusions and walkway edges, underscore the need for clear paths and well-marked edges to prevent pedestrian accidents. For example, objects obstructing walkways lower than three feet must be marked. During a lawsuit, demonstrating non-compliance with these standards through visual evidence or expert testimony can be powerful in proving liability.

Documenting the scene and conditions immediately following an injury on Charleston’s sidewalks is critical for anyone injured. Consulting with a personal injury attorney who can effectively gather and present this evidence is essential in advocating for rightful compensation and addressing such preventable accidents.

If you have suffered an injury on Charleston’s sidewalks, consulting with a personal injury lawyer can significantly enhance your chances of a favorable outcome, ensuring you receive the support and compensation necessary for recovery.

Were You Injured on a South Carolina Sidewalk?

If you or someone you love was recently injured while walking on the sidewalk, it is important you understand your rights, including your right to pursue a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your injuries. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated team of Charleston personal injury attorneys has more than 95 years of experience helping accident victims obtain financial compensation for their injuries. We’ve helped countless families recover meaningful compensation, and we look forward to discussing how we can help with your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Steinberg Law Firm at 843-720-2800. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.

Updated on May 16, 2024

You May Also Like