Boston residents have scored a big victory against defects on our public ways, now that Mayor Marty Walsh has committed to putting public safety first. How many more communities will follow suit?
As the Boston Herald reports, the City of Boston has taken critical steps in fulfilling its duty to ensure public safety by ordering a review of sidewalks and ways within the city limits. “With gaping chasms in Chinatown, heel-catching gaps on Beacon Hill, steeply pitched slabs of concrete in Southie and bad curb cuts all over town,” reports the Herald, “it’s like a war zone for urban walkers as well as the wheelchair-bound.”
As a society, the citizenry depends upon the condition of the public ways within the Commonwealth to conduct our affairs of daily life, be it by foot, bike or car. Essential to this, is that those ways not unreasonably endanger the public. Many people do not realize that any vertical change of over a quarter of an inch is a tripping hazard according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The elderly and the disabled are particularly sensitive to this issue. Hazards can impede or prevent travel to individuals who rely upon canes, and wheelchairs to navigate public ways.
While the risk of injury is real with many of these public defects, the injuries that follow from these hazards can be very real. From broken bones to torn ligaments to concussions and the after-effects, stepping into a pothole after stepping off a curb or catching a heel on uneven or chipped pavement can result trips to the hospital, time out of work, lost pay and significant expense.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defect on a public way, contact an experienced injury lawyer who can explain your options and will aggressively represent your interests.