Buying a new home is, generally, a thrilling experience. Often, it becomes a benchmark of one’s life; a signifier of success and stability. Whether it be due to burgeoning family or burgeoning finance, buying a new home represents an expansion and progression. When the deal is complete, and you’ve signed and secured your brand new domicile, you may want to stand and survey all that is now yours. The question is, where does your newfound realm end?

New homeowners may not be so sure. For instance, the building and grounds are normally regarded as belonging to the homeowner. That so much is obviously true. But what about the sidewalk? In legal terms, the local municipality, city, etc. usually “owns” the sidewalk, though it varies state to state. And a governing body’s ownership of a tract of sidewalk doesn’t necessarily absolve the homeowner of its upkeep. The homeowner may, in fact, be tasked with general maintenance of the sidewalk adjoining their property.

Why is this so important? Well, if someone is injured on your particular stretch of sidewalk, you may be held liable to cover their medical expenses. Especially if it can be proven that you have, negligently, allowed the sidewalk to fall into a dangerous state of disrepair. Different states have different bylaws concerning liability, and at Kaplan Lawyers PC, we implore all homeowners to make themselves aware of the particulars of these rules. A little research now may save you many headaches later. Some states will even help subsidize the cost of repairing your sidewalk, so as to avoid accidents altogether. If you’re unsure as to how this all applies to you, you’re only a phone call away from answers. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we’ve got a team of skilled professionals well-versed in property law. We can help inform you of your rights and responsibilities.

So how and why do sidewalks crack?

When materials heat up, they expand, and when they cool, they contract. This principle holds true for concrete, which causes the volatility in sidewalks most likely causal of cracks. The intermittent gaps in the sidewalk are meant to act as buffer spaces to prevent undue stress from cracking the large, rectangular planes- but the design is imperfect. Factor in the underlying soil’s tendency to likewise expand and contract and settle concavely over time, a process which adds to the enormous amounts of strain a sidewalk receives throughout its lifetime. Now couple that with the possibility of thick tree roots trying to breach skywards, and it’s easy to see why sidewalks often become dilapidated.

If you’ve been injured on a sidewalk, it may be within your rights to seek compensation that will help allay the costs of medical treatment. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, the consultations are free. We can help you through your legal process as you recover from your injuries.