Proving A Connecticut Public Sidewalk Defect Case

If you have been injured as a result of a public defective sidewalk in Connecticut, you have a statutory legal claim for money damages.  However, the law does not make it easy for the injured person to be successful.  This is due primarily to the law’s requirement that the injured person must prove that he or she was free from any negligence in causing the injuries.  In other words, even if the injured person is only 1% negligent for causing her injuries, the injured person loses the case. This legal requirement is vastly different from cases involving a private defective sidewalk.  In a private defective sidewalk case, the defendant must prove that the injured person was negligent and even if negligence is proven, the injured person still recovers compensation provided that her negligence does not exceed 50%. 

So, how do we prove that an injured person was free from negligence in a public defective sidewalk case? Since each case is fact specific, everything about the injured person’s behavior leading up to the fall must be examined, everything about the defect must be examined, and everything about the surrounding circumstances at the time of the incident must be examined.  Hopefully through the investigation into these three areas, a strong case can be developed.  Here is what to look for and hopefully find.

As for the person’s behavior leading up to the fall, the following will be helpful: proper footwear, proper clothing, no texting, no talking on the cell phone, no eating, no drinking a beverage, walking a normal or customary pace, and that while walking the person would look ahead, look down, look right and look left.

As for the defect, the following will be helpful: defect is the same color as the surrounding sidewalk, the defect covers a large enough area of the sidewalk that it would be difficult to walk around it, the grade of the sidewalk, and the location of the sidewalk (i.e. around a tree, next to a cross walk. on a major thoroughfare).

As for the surrounding circumstances, the following will be helpful: the pedestrians sight line as she walks towards the defect is impaired (impaired by a tree, the grade of the sidewalk, by other defects); the lighting; leaves or vegetation hiding some or all of the defect; the defect located near a street or driveway thus the pedestrian would be looking for cars rather than down at her feet; pedestrians or bicyclists approaching the pedestrian; a dog barking at the pedestrian or running towards the pedestrian; and a vehicle driving by that honks the horn, or has a siren on.

By establishing even a few of the items listed above, the injured person can effectively prove that she was free from negligence.  If you have been injured a public sidewalk defect case, contact our attorneys today at 1-860-667-0839 to discuss the legal viability of your claim.

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