Who is Liable for Slip and Falls on Sidewalks?

a cracked sidewalk

If you have been injured in a slip and fall on someone else's property, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. The answer to this question is not always clear-cut, as there are several potentially liable parties, including government entities, homeowners, landlords, and more. To determine who is liable in your case, it is important to understand the different types of property owners and their respective duties to keep visitors safe.

Understanding a Property Owner's Duty of Care

Every property owner owes visitors a certain duty of care, which essentially means they must take reasonable steps to make the property safe. This applies to all types of property, including public and private, residential and commercial.


Homeowners are responsible for ensuring that their property is safe for visitors, including maintaining walkways and sidewalks. When it comes to slips and falls on sidewalks, homeowners can be liable if the cause of the fall was an unreasonably dangerous condition that they knew or should have known about. Examples of situations in which a homeowner might be liable include:

  • Maintaining hazardous accumulations of plant material or debris
  • Inconsistencies in sidewalk elevation
  • Overlooking hazards such as broken pavement


When it comes to safety and accessibility, premises liability laws generally place duties upon landlords regarding outdoor surfaces around their rental units, such as sidewalks and parking lots, which can become hazardous, especially when poor winter weather conditions arise.

Tenants who sustain an injury in a fall due to snow or ice on the sidewalk outside their rental unit may be able to file a negligence claim against their landlord. This can usually be done if it can be established that the landlord failed to take reasonable care in removing snow and ice following precipitation events.

Government Entities

While a property owner is usually responsible for visitors' safety on their premises, this is not always the case. For example, should a slip and fall accident occur due to an unmaintained sidewalk, government entities may be liable if they are perceived to have had control over the maintenance of said sidewalk. A city can also be held liable if the fall was caused by an uneven sidewalk resulting from a city tree.

Learn How Kolker Law Firm Can Protect Your Rights

Determining liability in a slip and fall case can be confusing and overwhelming. At Kolker Law Firm, we are here to help you protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

If you were injured due to a slip, trip or fall, contact us today at (314) 684-8285 or fill out our form online.

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