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Who is responsible for keeping Riverside's sidewalks safe?

The Public Works Streets Division (PWSD) for the City of Riverside is generally responsible for maintaining the gutters, curb and sidewalk to the side and front closest to the street. There are some exceptions to this rule though. This can affect who you're able to sue for damages if you're injured while walking or biking along one of these areas.

Earthquakes, aging, tree roots and traffic crashes can all cause gutters, curbs and sidewalks to become damaged. The city argues that they're only responsible for damage caused by city landscaping or trees. They note the private property owners are generally liable for making repairs to property damage caused by their vegetation. At the same time, city officials warn that they are willing to come out and temporarily patch raised or broken concrete if they pose a tripping hazard and the property owner is unable to make repairs right away.

City officials define concrete damage as an emergency if it has the potential of physically injuring a person or piece of property.

PWSD workers may be dispatched to an emergency or potentially hazardous situation right away. The general timeline for heading out to evaluate nonemergency concerns is 24-48 hours though.

Workers generally record a description of the concern including its size and location to assess whether it warrants being repaired right away. They'll generally perform a temporary patch on the spot and schedule permanent repairs if needed. Those same PWSD workers will communicate what steps property owners need to take if they determine that they're responsible for the damage themselves.

Broken and uneven pavement can be dangerous. A pedestrian who isn't watching their footing may end up with their shoe getting stuck in between in cracks. This could result in that individual suffering serious injuries in a fall.

Property owners are supposed to regularly inspect their premises to make sure that they're safe. If they were negligent in doing this and you got hurt, then California law may allow you to sue them for your medical costs and other expenses. A personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights in your Riverside case.

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