New York City Sidewalk Injury Attorneys
Did you or a loved one suffer a severe injury in a fall caused by a cracked, broken, or uneven sidewalk in New York City? If so, you may be owed significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
According to the New York Department of Transportation, there are more than 12,750 miles of sidewalks in the City across the five boroughs. Despite the fact that the DOT repairs or replaces many sections of sidewalk each year, many sidewalks remain in disrepair. Because of this, NYC’s transportation department relies heavily on property owners to maintain their sidewalks.
Under New York’s Administrative Code, property owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing sidewalks adjacent to their property. When a property owner fails to maintain the adjoining sidewalks in safe condition or address unreasonably dangerous conditions, a severe injury accident (particularly trips and falls) can happen. If this has happened to you, turn to an experienced New York City sidewalk accident lawyer at David Resnick and Associates, PC, for help. We will provide a free case evaluation to discuss your claim, so call us at (212) 279-2000 today.
Causes and Types of Sidewalk Accidents
If a sidewalk is damaged, buckled, slippery, cluttered or littered with debris, or is otherwise unsafe for pedestrian use, a severe injury accident may occur.
Some of the most common causes of accidents on sidewalks include:
- Broken or cracked sidewalks
- Uneven sidewalks
- Deteriorating or poorly maintained sidewalks
- Damaged metal gratings
- Gas or utility caps sticking up from the sidewalk
- Inadequate lighting
- Ice or snow
- Debris or other objects on the sidewalk
- Garbage on the sidewalk
Some of the most common injuries victims suffer in sidewalk fall accidents include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spine injuries
- Broken hips and pelvic bones
- Shoulder and neck injuries
- Torn tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Soft tissue injuries
Many of the injuries that victims suffer can be extremely painful and some may require surgery, physical therapy or other treatment. Some accident victims may have to deal with the consequences of the accident for the rest of their lives.
Who is Liable in a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accident in NYC?
Prior to 2003, sidewalks in New York City were public property and the city was responsible for upkeep and repairs. However, the New York City Administrative Code was revised in 2003 and liability for sidewalk maintenance was changed.
Two specific sections were enacted to address this issue, including:
§ 7-210 – Liability of real property owner for failure to maintain sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition
This section established that New York City was no longer responsible for maintaining the city’s sidewalks. Instead, adjacent property owners now assume responsibility and liability. There are exceptions, however, including if the sidewalk is adjacent to an owner-occupied one, two, or three family home. If an injury occurs in a sidewalk accident adjacent to a one, two or three family property, the property owner and the City will be legally liable for compensating the accident victim for injuries related to unsafe sidewalks.
If a personal injury accident occurs on a sidewalk adjacent to a residential property containing four or more families or a commercial property, the owners of the property are liable for injuries associated with the unsafe sidewalk.
§ 19-152 – Duties and obligations of property owners with respect to sidewalks and lots
This section establishes the responsibilities of property owners to ensure their sidewalks are free of any obstacles or hazards. Property owners are expected to:
- Install, construct, and repave sidewalks adjacent to their property
- Remove snow, ice, dirt, and other debris that might make the sidewalk unsafe for foot traffic
The section also outlines some substantial defects that must be addressed, which include:
- One or more missing sidewalk flags, or areas where a sidewalk was never built
- Cracked sidewalk flags where pieces could easily be loosened or removed
- Undermined sidewalks with visible “voids” or that can easily be rocked back and forth
- Tripping hazards caused by grading issues or surface defects
- Improper slope, resulting in water drainage issues
- Structural integrity defects
- Sidewalk construction issues (particularly non-compliance with DOT specifications)
Sidewalk inspections by the City are prompted by complaints of unsafe conditions. The inspection department may issue a notice of violation and notify the property owner of needed sidewalk repairs. The property owner then has 45 days to hire a contractor and make the repairs. If the repairs are not made in a timely manner, the City may repair the sidewalk and bill the property owner for the cost of the repairs.
As part of an accident investigation, David Resnick & Associates will seek to determine whether the property owner has been put on notice of an unsafe condition and failed to make a repair.
An important note about snow and ice removal
It’s important to note that with snow or ice, property owners must observe the “four hour rule” which requires property owners to clear sidewalks within four hours of any snowfall from the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. If they fail to observe this mandate, they could be held liable for any injuries that pedestrians may suffer in falls caused by slippery sidewalks.
If a storm is in progress, however, pedestrians cannot sue the property owner if they were hurt while it was still snowing.
Seeking Compensation for a Sidewalk Injury
If you were hurt due to hazardous sidewalk conditions in New York City, you may be eligible to bring an injury claim against the property owner or the city, depending on which party was responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk.
Simply being injured is not enough to bring a successful claim, however. Sidewalk accident injury claims fall under the category of premises liability. The liable party must have been aware of the unsafe condition and failed to take adequate steps to correct it or warn of the danger.
This means that you’ll need to have proof of the condition of the sidewalk at the time of your accident. You will need to prove that the hazardous sidewalk caused your injury, and that the liable party knew or should have known of the unsafe sidewalk and failed to address the issue.
If you can successfully show that the liable party was negligent and that you suffered significant harm as a result, you may recover compensation including payment for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
Statute of Limitations in New York
You have a limited amount of time to bring an injury claim for a slip and fall accident caused by a defective sidewalk in New York. The statute of limitations establishes that you have three years from the date of your accident to file a claim against a negligent property owner.
If you are bringing a claim against the city, you must notify the city within 90 days of the accident and your injury. You’ll then receive a “Notice of Claim.” Your sidewalk injury lawsuit must be commenced within a year and 90 days of the accident.
There is also an additional requirement if you intend to bring a lawsuit against the city. Section 7-201 also states that accident victims who intend to sue the city for failure to maintain a sidewalk must prove that the city had received “prior written notice” of the defect before your accident happened.
If you have sustained a serious injury in a NYC sidewalk accident, it is imperative to speak with an experienced sidewalk accident lawyer right away to start work on your claim. If you don’t provide proper notice to the City within the time allowed, you will not be able to bring a claim.
Contact a New York Trip and Fall Lawyer
Call an experienced trip and fall attorney at David Resnick & Associates to discuss your case involving a defective or poorly maintained sidewalk in New York City. We have extensive experience handling sidewalk injury claims in Manhattan and across all five boroughs. David Resnick & Associates is ready to put our skills to work for you.
Call us at (212) 279-2000 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today. Our team is fluent in both English and Spanish to serve you in whichever language you are most comfortable. We stand ready to take your call and help you with your case.