Every city is responsible for sidewalk repairs and has the duty to exercise ordinary care to construct, maintain, and repair its sidewalks so that they will be reasonably safe for public travel and not cause slip and fall accidents. This duty does not require the municipality to guarantee the safety of its sidewalks or render them absolutely safe for all persons who travel upon them. Just reasonably safe.
A sidewalk is defective when it is not constructed or maintained so as to be reasonably safe for anticipated public use. Before finding a city negligent because of a defective condition, the city must have had either actual notice or constructive notice of the defect. Constructive notice is the defect existed for a length of time before the accident that the city in the exercise of ordinary care should have discovered it in time to fix the defect. The topography, street development, sidewalk traffic and character, and intended use of the sidewalk are relevant.
“Ordinary care” is the degree of care, which the great mass of people ordinarily uses under the same or similar circumstances. A person fails to use ordinary care when, without intending to do any wrong, he or she does an act or omits a precaution under circumstances in which a person of ordinary intelligence and prudence should reasonably foresee that the act or omission will subject another person or property of another to an unreasonable risk of injury or damage. In performing this duty, a city must use ordinary care to discover conditions or defects on the property which expose a person to an unreasonable risk of harm. If an unreasonable risk of harm existed and the city was aware of it, or, if in the use of ordinary care should have been aware of it, then it was the city’s duty to either correct the condition or danger or warn other persons of the condition or risk as was reasonable under the circumstances.
A pedestrian also has a duty to exercise ordinary care to observe the sidewalk and its immediate surroundings to discover any dangerous condition or defect that would be discoverable by an ordinarily prudent pedestrian under like or similar circumstances. The exercise of such care requires the efficient use of one’s eyes, faculties, and opportunities for observation that an ordinarily prudent person would use under like circumstances in order to become aware of the dangers naturally incident to the situation or to see unsafe conditions that are in plain sight.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys are experienced in obtaining settlements for persons who slip and fall on defective city sidewalks. Money settlements for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. Believe in better.