Q: Yesterday, as my friend was walking on the sidewalk, her foot became caught in a gap between two cellar doors that were embedded into the sidewalk. This caused Jill to fall to the ground. The fall broke both bones in her ankle, and ripped all her tendons and ligaments.
A: A gap is something that defendants often will claim was ‘trivial’, contending that the gap was physically insignificant and that the characteristics of the gap and the surrounding circumstances did not overcome this physical insignificance.
In truth, there is no minimal dimension test or ‘per se’ rule that the condition must be of a certain height or depth in order to be actionable. Physically small defects may be actionable when their surrounding circumstances or intrinsic characteristics make them (a) difficult for a pedestrian to see or to identify as hazards or (b) difficult to traverse safely on foot.
No matter what the accident, the victim’s attorney will always appreciate photographs – taken as close in time to the accident as possible. If you don’t already have photos, please go out and take them immediately, before the cellar doors get repaired (though that need not be fatal). Some of the photos should show both the area around the cellar doors, and some should show the gap itself. Alongside the gap, it may be wise to place a tape measure.
Certainly, your friend’s attorney can take photos down the line, if need be. But this possibility does not dispel the help that you can give by taking the photos even before she seeks counsel.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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