When Is a Sidewalk a Sidewalk? Mintz Law Firm Wins Colorado Court of Appeals Case Against RTD
In the case of Trujillo v. RTD, Mintz Law Firm client (Trujillo), was seriously injured when a grate surrounding a tree on the sidewalk at RTD’s 16th Street Mall Bus Turnaround broke when she walked over it. RTD argued that the case should be thrown out by the trial court because the walkway on which Trujillo was injured was not a sidewalk that was part of a public roadway, so RTD could not be held liable for her injuries because Colorado’s Governmental Immunity Act only allows for claims on sidewalks that are part of a public roadway. The trial court disagreed, and RTD appealed that decision.
The Colorado Court of Appeals also determined that RTD was wrong. Like the trial court before it, the Court of Appeals determined that the Mall Bus Turnaround serves the general public and is a necessary link in Denver’s transportation system. Just because only RTD buses are allowed in the Turnaround does not mean that it’s not a public roadway and that the sidewalks in the Turnaround are not part of a public roadway.
The Court of Appeals went on to say that the limit of a public roadway determines only one side of the sidewalk; the other is determined by the property lines. Therefore, the case has been sent back to the trial court to determine whether the location of the incident, that occurred on the sidewalk that is part of the public roadway, was within the property lines belonging to RTD.
Cases involving governmental agencies are more complex than the average personal injury case. If you’ve been injured, and a governmental agency is potentially responsible, it’s important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Many people don’t even know that a very specific notice of the injured person’s claim must be provided to the proper representative for the governmental agency within 182-days of the incident. Time is of the essence in these cases.
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another call Mintz Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.
Eric Staton, Managing Attorney