Who Is Liable if I Trip and Fall on Uneven Pavement?

Slip and fall injuries are unfortunately common and send millions of people to hospitals every year. In some cases, the injuries are comparatively mild and consist of little more than scrapes or cuts. In more serious cases, though, you may experience broken bones, damaged ligaments, or even head injuries.

What happens when the fall occurs on some uneven pavement? These kinds of sidewalk injuries don’t always lend themselves to a clear liable party.

If you think you have a slip and fall claim but aren’t sure who you should aim at, keep reading. We’ll offer a quick breakdown of potentially liable parties.

Business Owners

Let’s say that your fall occurred right outside of a business. For example, you go to the grocery store, walk out with your groceries, and your foot catches on the uneven pavement.

In most cases, the business is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in a safe condition. That typically extends their parking lot as well.

Businesses that allow customers onto the premises must maintain liability insurance specifically to cover personal damages like slip and fall injuries. As a general rule, you or your slip and fall attorney will negotiate with the business’s insurance provider for the claim.


Let’s say that you’re visiting friends and they have a walkway leading from the driveway to the front door. The walkway is on their property, which means the liability for poor maintenance falls on them. If you trip on their poorly maintained walkway, you would deal with the property owner for your personal injury claim.

Again, homeowners must maintain a homeowner’s insurance policy. Those policies also include liability coverage for incidents like personal injury.

It’s important to note that most business and homeowners’ liability policies include exemptions for things like trespassing.


Not all sidewalks belong to a business or a homeowner. Lots of sidewalks belong to local governments.

For example, a sidewalk in a city park would fall under the responsibility of the city. If the city doesn’t maintain those sidewalks, they would end up the liable party.

Going after local governments for slip and fall injuries often means jumping through a lot of hoops. On top of that, many cities make sidewalks the responsibility of property owners. That means you may not always know who you should look to for coverage of things like medical bills.

A slip and fall lawyer can often help you identify the liable party if it isn’t clear.

Dealing with Falls on Uneven Pavement

Uneven pavement is a hazard for anyone who walks on it, which can mean almost anyone from children to the elderly. While not every fall will mean serious injury, they can often mean pricey medical care.

Depending on where the pavement is located, a business, homeowner, or even local government may end up liable. Since this often means negotiating with insurance complies or even suing, a lawyer is often helpful or necessary. 

Looking for more legal tips? Check out the posts over in our Legal section.