Verdicts May Be Indicative of Trend Toward Increased Municipal Liability

sidewalk, municipal liability, Connecticut personal injury attorneyFor the second time in less than a year, a claimant has successfully sued a Connecticut municipality for injuries caused by unsafe sidewalk conditions. The most recent decision was handed down by a Superior Court jury, finding that the City of Bridgeport had been negligent in maintaining a safe sidewalk, and awarding the woman more than $416,000 in damages.

Dangerous Negligence

According to reports, the 69-year-old woman and sister had been walking on a public sidewalk in Bridgeport when she tripped over a portion of the walkway that was raised as much as two inches. As a result of her subsequent fall, the woman broke her left arm, requiring substantial surgery to repair, along with a number of other more superficial injuries. Her lawsuit also claimed that she was left with limited strength and mobility, which has greatly impacted her everyday life.

Difficult Case

The injured woman filed suit against the city for her incurred and anticipated medical expenses along with other, noneconomic damages. Along the way, the claimant and her counsel were warned by members of the legal community about the challenges of holding a municipality responsible for such injuries, since the law provides substantial protection for cities and towns in most cases. However, the woman and her team persevered, relying on the expert testimony of an engineer to explain both the physical and human elements of the case. They were also able to successfully show that the city was—or should have been—aware of the problem with the sidewalk but did nothing to fix the issue.

A similar case was decided in the spring of 2015 when a 73-year-old woman was awarded a $770,000 verdict against the town of West Hartford. Negligent maintenance of a municipal sidewalk, the jury found, led to the woman’s fall causing serious injury to her wrist and about $95,000 in medical bills.

Public Responsibility

Advocates for injured victims hope that verdicts like these are a sign of a change in the attitude toward municipal liability and the relative immunity that shields cities and towns in many cases. For many years, municipalities have relied on a bias among jurors, at least according to on trial attorney, that those who get hurt on public sidewalks or city property are almost always partially to blame. Going forward, however, many hope to see a new attitude from local governments in dealing with such injuries, with each case being evaluated on its own merits, and with real efforts toward actual resolution.

If you have been injured in a fall on public or municipal property, including sidewalks, parking lots, or inside government buildings, it is important to understand your options for pursuing compensation. Contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney to discuss your potential case. Call [[phone1]] to schedule a confidential consultation with the Woolf Law Firm, LLC.

 

Sources:

http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202748753277/Womans-Fall-on-Sidewalk-Leads-to-416000-Verdict

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20150415/NEWS01/150419960/west-hartford-loses-770000-lawsuit

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0076.htm

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