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Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk in Austin, TX?

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common causes of unintentional injuries in the United States. Millions of people are treated in emergency rooms and urgent care facilities for falls each year. Unfortunately, some individuals sustain severe injuries that result in long-term impairments.

The cost of a fall injury can be substantial. Texas personal injury laws allow accident victims to sue for damages when another party causes their injury.

However, what happens if you fall on a sidewalk in Austin? Who can you sue for a sidewalk accident in Austin?

What Are Your Rights When Walking on an Austin Sidewalk?

Pedestrians walking on sidewalks have a reasonable expectation that the sidewalk is safe and reasonably maintained for pedestrian traffic. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Falls on sidewalks occur for many reasons, including:

  • Uneven surfaces
  • Cracks and holes
  • Loose or broken paving stones
  • Depressions in the sidewalk caused by shifting turf or tree roots
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Clutter and debris
  • Improper sidewalk design and/or construction

Most sidewalk accidents fall under premises liability laws, which is a division of personal injury law. Premises liability laws hold owners and other parties responsible for injuries sustained on their property.

How Do I Prove Liability for a Fall on an Austin Sidewalk?

Under premises liability laws, you must prove the following legal elements to hold the property owner liable for injuries and damages:

  • The party has a duty of care for the sidewalk
  • The party breached the duty of care by not adequately maintaining the property or because of other negligent acts
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
  • You sustained harm and damages because of the breach of duty

So, can you sue the City of Austin if you can prove your sidewalk injury was caused by negligence? The answer depends on whether the city owns the sidewalk. If the city owns or is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, you might have a claim against the city for damages.

Most claims against the government are prohibited by sovereign immunity. In other words, you cannot sue the government unless it permits you to do so. However, the Texas Tort Claims Act provides that a city might be held accountable for a premise liability claim arising out of negligence.

How Do I Sue the City of Austin if I Fall on a Sidewalk?

Lawsuits against government entities are complicated. Even though you might have the right to sue the city for a sidewalk injury, it does not mean you will win. The government has made it more difficult to win a personal injury case against government agencies.

For example, the statute of limitations for filing premises liability claims in Texas is usually two years from the date of injury. However, the statute of limitations for filing a claim under the Texas Tort Claims Act is six months from the injury date. Unfortunately, some cities and counties set shorter deadlines.

If you want to file a claim against the City of Austin, you must send a letter within 45 days of the injury date. Failing to file your claim before the deadline could result in your claim being denied.

Speaking with an Austin personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is crucial if you are injured on public property. Even if it is past 45 days when you read this blog post, call a lawyer to discuss your case. There could be exceptions to the deadlines that apply in your situation.

What Damages Could I Receive if I Fall on a Sidewalk in Austin?

The damages in a sidewalk accident case are similar to the damages in other personal injury cases. You can receive compensation for economic damages, such as:

  • Medical bills and expenses of treatment
  • The cost of nursing care, physical therapy, and rehabilitative therapies
  • Loss of income and benefits
  • Expenses related to personal care and assistance with household chores
  • Decrease in future earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses

In addition to your financial losses, you can also seek compensation for your non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages. These damages include:

  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • Emotional distress and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of and quality of life

Damages from a fall on a sidewalk can total thousands of dollars. Catastrophic injuries could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in future damages and losses.

If you fall on an Austin sidewalk, seek immediate medical attention. Also, take photographs and videos of the sidewalk and area as close to the time of your fall as possible. Then, report the fall to the city and call a lawyer immediately.

Contact Our Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm in Austin, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Austin and need legal help, contact our Austin slip and fall accident lawyers at FVF Law to schedule a free consultation with our team.

3101 Bee Caves Rd #301,
Austin, TX 78746, United States
(512) 982-9328



Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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