• Pregnant woman trips, falls on cracked sidewalk; now suing Seattle

    By: Deedee Sun

    Updated:

    A woman, eight months pregnant, tripped on a cracked sidewalk in Wallingford and fell.

    “How am I going to do this -- and not hurt my baby?” said Jennifer Christensen, remembering the fall.

    Her baby is just fine, but the mom’s recovery stalled.

    “After a few months, it just kind of stopped,” Christensen said. 

    The fall happened near 47th and Stone Way North. Now you can see it has been recently fixed with new asphalt.  

    She was running errands in Wallingford and walking near Diva Espresso. 

    “All of a sudden I feel my right foot, you know, hit something,” Christensen said. 

    It was a raised section of sidewalk that she couldn’t see, because she was 36 weeks pregnant and looking ahead, and she says also because the sidewalk was covered with leaves. 

    “I know that I'm going down. I'm terrified,” Christensen said.

    She fell hard and broke her shoulder. 

    “That’s pretty much all I was thinking about. 'Oh my God, is my baby okay?'”

    She was rushed to the ER, where they checked on the baby. 

    “Her heart rate was very elevated, but other than that she seemed to be doing fine,” Christensen said. “I feel so blessed that, you know, as much as this sucks, at least I didn't lose her. I don't -- I just don't even  know what I would do if that had been the outcome,” she said, tearing up at the thought.

    That was fall of 2015. 

    Since then, Christensen has gone through three surgeries -- the latest a partial shoulder replacement a few weeks ago.

    “Every time I have a surgery, it's felt like I am starting over. So that's been really discouraging because this is the third time,” she said.

    Now she's suing the city of Seattle, Diva Espresso -- the business on the property -- and Samis Land Company, the property owner. 

    Her attorney says the fall never should have happened.

    “The actual property owners and the city should've been aware of this condition, because it wasn't something that was unforeseeable,” said Sok-Khieng Lim, Christensen’s attorney.

    SDOT's website says property owners need to make sure sidewalks are safe for the public, and that includes repairs. 

    Samis Land Company told KIRO7 whether it's responsible for a sidewalk repair or the business depends on the contract. 

    No one would comment on the specifics of this case because of ongoing litigation.

    But it was easy for KIRO7 to find damaged and cracked sidewalks outside nearby businesses. 

    Christensen says that's one of the biggest reasons why she's taking this to court.

    “This is an issue that needs to be addressed,” she said. 

    SDOT is in the middle of  an assessment project to make sidewalks more safe in Seattle. 

    This year, it's working on a "proactive repair program,” working on getting better at responding to claims, and educating property owners about their responsibilities. 

    If the case goes to trial, it would be next year in King County Superior Court. 
     


    More news from KIRO 7


    DOWNLOAD OUR FREE NEWS APP

    Next Up: