I once handled a matter in which my client tripped over some brick pavers that a homeowner installed in the City’s right-of-way. The pavers had become uneven due to tree root growth, a common scenario in Tampa.
Municipalities are often responsible for sidewalks — although it may be other entities as well — in our case a private citizen — but there is a duty on the individual to look where he or she is going, to wear appropriate shoes for the weather conditions, etc. These types of cases inevitably cast the victim as the person at fault.
In my case I was able to pursue an action against both the City and the homeowner, and obtained some very interesting facts regarding notice, for notice is the key when prosecuting a premises liability action. We were fortunate to obtain a good settlement.
While it may seem cut-and-dried to the person who fell, lawyers will look at those kinds of cases with great scrutiny before deciding whether they can take them because they are often fraught with difficulty. When it comes to slip-and-falls, school-yard rhymes take a backseat to the blame game.