Could I sue for tripping over a sidewalk and hurting myself?

The sidewalk has a 3 inch gap going up. I took pictures of the sidewalk and my knees. My wrist was scraped and my bandages are healing but my right knee hurts when anything touches it or I even move it.

Asked on July 22, 2010 under Personal Injury, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) To sue, you'd need to prove that the sidewalk owner (the city?) had knowledge, or at least should have known, of the problem. If not, they are probably not liable.

2) Also, it's not clear that a 3" gap would necessarily give rise to liability. Sidewalks are rarely fully smooth or even. At some point, a gap is large enough that, if there is knowledge, there is probably responsibilty. There are also gaps so small there's no liabilty, because it's not unreasonable to have that gap. 3" probably falls into that grey area, so while their could be liabilty, it should not be taken as a given.

3) If you don't have much medical costs and haven't missed work, then there's probably not enough to make it worth suring for. While people can also sue for  pain and suffering, if you are not permantly disabled but are suffering pain for simply a few weeks, then that's likely worth only a few hundred dollars at best,  which is not likely worth the cost or effort of pursuing  a lawsuit.


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