Sidewalk Trip and Fall Attorneys Highlight the Latest San Diego Proposal to Make Property Owners Liable for Adjacent Damaged Sidewalks
- December 7, 2018
- Laura Morris
Due to the influx of damaged sidewalks which have lead to millions of dollars in trip and fall injury lawsuit payouts, the City of San Diego is planning to take action that may require property owners to fix any nearby sidewalk damage before selling.
Several other proposals being discussed include property liens, waiving the permit fees to encourage property owners to make sidewalk repairs, educating property owners about their personal responsibilities, and that the City is willing to split the cost of most repairs with them.
City officials are considering creating a plan for working on a roughly $39 million sidewalk repair project. This will allow the city to track their own progress and creating an ongoing maintenance program to minimize payouts in upcoming years.
The City Council’s Infrastructure Committee endorsed these proposals in a recent public hearing. This is after roughly $11 million in injury payouts occurring over that last five years in lawsuits over sidewalks that had been damaged. The amount of people riding bicycles and scooters in San Diego has significantly grown, making the city face an even greater liability.
A fundamental part of the problem is that most property owners do not realize they are responsible under state law for the sidewalk adjacent to their property. City officials hope to have these new proposals enacted by this winter.
Plans from other cities
The City’s Independent Budget Analyst spent a few months observing how other cities in California handle damaged sidewalks. A report issued by financial and police analyst Jillian Kissee, stated the most compelling policy proposal was requiring property owners to fix any sidewalk adjacent to their property that was damaged before they are able sell.
Concerns were expressed about local real estate agents and some property owners fighting the policy, but overall would be an effective solution.
Kissee’s report acknowledged the similar policies that the cities of San Francisco and San Jose have. These cities put a lien on a property with damaged sidewalks and allow cash-strapped homeowners to incrementally pay the city back for repairs. San Francisco also allows homeowners to take part in competitive bids the City issues for large-scale sidewalk projects, which usually reduces the cost of repairs. Kissee also proposed that the City needs to set clear goals for the $39 million repair backlog, this way progress can be tracked, budget allocations can be customized to the plan, and an ongoing maintenance schedule can be developed.
As a final proposal, Kissee recommended the City of San Diego conduct follow-up assessments of all the city’s sidewalks.
San Diego Sidewalk Injury
The new policy proposals made come after a series of payouts by the City of San Diego relating to sidewalk injuries.
In the Spring of 2017, the City paid $4.85 million to a resident in Del Cerro for a 2014 crash in which the injured tore his spinal cord ligaments and lost several teeth after his bike was thrown 28 feet by a sidewalk with damage from a tree. This was the largest sidewalk settlement in San Diego’s history. The settlement was so large due to the injured persons medical bills, his need for future medical care, and the likelihood that he will be unable to work again.
More recently, The City paid $1 million to a couple for injuries they suffered after tripping on an uneven sidewalk back in April 2016 in University Heights.
A jury awarded a former mayor’s wife $85,000 last December after she had suffered ruptured breast implants from a sidewalk fall in 2015. The woman’s attorney claimed the City was negligent and careless by failing to repair a 2.5-inch concrete lip caused by a tree in a public sidewalk in Pacific Beach.
A council member stated they were optimistic about San Diego’s new proposals but does not believe the problem will ever be fully resolved.
Sidewalk Trip and Fall Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a sidewalk trip and fall accident, it’s important that you first get immediate medical attention. Then, contact San Diego sidewalk injury lawyers at The Barnes Firm. An experienced attorney can help you get compensation for things like:
- Medical bills
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- transportation costs
- and more
Call us anytime or contact us online for a FREE sidewalk injury consultation.
The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000.