March 3, 2024

Focus on Sidewalk Safety

Spring is just around the corner, and people will soon head outside to enjoy the warmer weather. That makes this the perfect time for cities to ensure their sidewalks are well-maintained and safe.

Cities must keep sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to do this could lead to responsibility for trip/fall incidents resulting in damage claims. KLC receives around 40 claims each year with an average cost of $8,200 each, while some exceed $200,000.

Cities are not required to maintain perfect sidewalks, and no single rule decides whether a sidewalk is unsafe. A jury normally determines this based on the circumstances at the time of the injury. That’s why KLC encourages cities to develop and implement a sidewalk safety program to reduce the liability exposure. The program should establish a policy that includes conditions that warrant repair or replacement. Sidewalks should be inspected to identify and document problem areas, followed by prioritizing repair and replacement.

KLC provides a Step-by-Step Guide to Sidewalk Safety which details municipal legal responsibilities and includes sample ordinances, inspections, and maintenance plans. It is one of the many extra benefits made available to KLC Insurance Services members. KLC insurance customers can access the guide by logging into their online account. Contact KLC Director of Loss Control Aaron Parrish for more information.