This is one of those tricky gray areas in personal injury law. You fell on public property; the sidewalk. However, the ice patch that caused your slip and fall was caused by a neighbor's downspout. It was the water flowing down from his house that created the patch of ice on the public sidewalk and caused you to slip. Now, you have a concussion and neurologic issues. Who do you sue?
What a Personal Injury Attorney Would Say
Technically, you cannot sue the city. They are unaware of what your neighbor's downspout is doing to the sidewalk. They can only warn the neighbor about the safety issue. Because a city sewer component is not responsible, and a city employee is not responsible, you cannot sue the city for your injuries.
You can sue the neighbor. However, it is a good idea to talk to the neighbor first. Inform the neighbor what has happened and how you are hurt. Ask them if they are willing to help cover some of the medical expenses associated with your accident, pointing out that it was their downspout that created the ice patch that caused your fall. Most people will listen to reason, although most people will also not want to pay your bills. If your neighbor refuses to discuss it further, refuses to help you with your medical bills, or agrees to help you with your bills and then does not pay, seek out a personal injury lawyer for further assistance.
Bring Your Medical Documentation
It is not enough to state that you fell and hit your head on the sidewalk in front of your neighbor's house. You have to show that you went to see a doctor after it happened, and that the doctor discovered your injuries in the course of the exam. With a concussion, you will also need an MRI or CT scan to prove the damage to your head. Also, bring the bill, minus your insurance coverage, to your lawyer to determine how much compensation you are entitled to.
Did Other Neighbors See You Fall?
If other neighbors saw you fall, or they have fallen on the same ice patch, ask if they will speak to your lawyer. There is a good chance they will decline, but if they saw the fall or have fallen themselves, your lawyer can force them to testify. You should expect to steer clear of this neighbor's property in the future.
Contact a law firm like Palmetto Injury Lawyers for additional advice.