One of the most common premises liability situations occurs when a member of the public is injured by a defect on a public sidewalk or roadway. For example, many accidents occur when traffic lights or signs malfunction, are obscured, or are not present at all. Another example is where a local government entity is performing roadwork involving an excavation or obstruction of the roadway, and someone is injured due to the change in the road's surface or traffic flow. Finally, a very common situation is where someone is injured when he or she trips and falls due to a defect in a public sidewalk. In these cases, it would seem clear that the governmental unit responsible for maintaining the road or walkways should be held legally responsible to the injured party.
We all have a duty not to expose other people to unnecessary harmful situations. For those who are in charge of a property that is open to the public, that duty is increased many times over. Those who profit from opening their property to the public or who hold themselves out as keeping it safe must make it safe.
Holding property owners and caretakers financially liable for harm caused by negligent care makes them more careful about the safety of their premises. A little extra caution in maintaining public areas can result in much better safety for all.
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