Although the City of Los Angeles is legally responsible for injuries caused by its broken sidewalks, it refuses to pay out most of the claims filed against it. Of the 1,509 claims filed for personal injury in the past five years, 65 of them, about four percent, have been paid for by the city. According to state law, if your city knows about cracked or buckled sidewalks that are bad enough to create dangerous conditions for pedestrians, and has not fixed it in a timely manner, it can be responsible to pay claims for personal injury caused by the sidewalks. Specifically stating, “(The law) Imposes liability on the city, county, or city and county for any injury resulting from that entity’s failure to perform the required repairs.
In May 2014, a woman broke her leg while walking on a broken sidewalk in downtown Los Angeles. After filing her claim, she did not receive any form of communication about its status, yet according to city records, it took them four months to review and deny it. Apparently, the city refuses to notify claimants that their claim has been denied, unfortunately causing many to miss the two-year statute of limitations for sidewalk injury lawsuits. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that the city had known about the broken sidewalk since 2007, and several complaints had been filed about it, including one from a nearby Fire Station. Another woman broke her hip on a raised sidewalk in Van Nuys, and was denied compensation for medical expenses even though several complaints had been filed for the same location. The city refused to take responsibility for her case until she filed a lawsuit, which was settled for $425,000.
According to LA City Attorney, it is possible that legitimate claims have been unjustly denied, yet the city does not want to pay for claims in which it was not responsible. For example, if someone was texting and walking at the same time, and tripped because they weren’t paying attention. Regardless of the details, the law still states that if a person is injured from a broken sidewalk, the city is required to grant them compensation, because it failed in its duty to protect its citizens by not maintaining the sidewalks. It will cost an estimated $1.5 billion to fix all of the dangerous sidewalks in Los Angeles, but a lot more to keep paying the victims.
If you have suffered injury due to an LA city sidewalk, you can mail in this form, and contact the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.