New York City is a busy place where people often need to maneuver through crowds. It can be difficult to see the sidewalk and avoid dangerous conditions. In some cases, trip and falls are caused by a negligent property owner or the city. Sidewalk accidents and falls can result in injuries such as broken bones, lacerations, fractures, concussions, disc damage, and soft tissue injuries. They may be the fault of more than one entity. If you are injured, you should retain a New York City sidewalk accident lawyer to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Sidewalk Accidents and Falls
In New York, private property owners, both residential and commercial, are required to maintain the sidewalks in front of homes or businesses like grocery stores in a condition that is reasonably safe. This means that they need to take affirmative steps to help prevent dangerous conditions like ice and snow, fix the pavement when it is broken, and fix cobblestones and uneven areas like gratings. They should also make sure that proper precautions are taken when any construction is done on their sidewalk.
A private property owner may be held liable for a dangerous condition that causes injuries if you can show that the defendant knew or should have known about a dangerous condition, it failed to take steps to repair the condition or provide warnings, the dangerous condition was a substantial factor in causing your injuries, and you suffered actual damages as a result. A sidewalk accident attorney in New York City can advise you on whether these elements are likely to be established in your case.
A property owner is not held responsible for a dangerous condition when it neither knew about it nor should have known about it in the exercise of reasonable care. Snow and ice falls can present particular challenges in this regard. Generally, you will need to show that a property owner knew or should have known that ice or snow had accumulated and that the owner did not clear the snow or ice in a reasonable time frame. If it accumulated in a brief window of time, it is less likely that a victim can recover damages. For example, if a patch of black ice formed, and you slipped early in the morning, you may not be able to hold a property owner responsible for the fall because there was not enough time for the owner to find out about it and rectify the situation.
Under Section 7-210 of the New York City Administrative Code, a property owner whose property abuts the sidewalk is supposed to maintain it. However, the city is responsible for sidewalks that abut a one, two, or three family residence where the owner lives. After a sidewalk accident, it is a good idea to take photographs of exactly where you fell and the dangerous condition that caused the fall. These may be useful for your New York City sidewalk accident attorney later to identify who was responsible for the sidewalk where the fall occurred and to show causation.
If the city is responsible for your sidewalk accident, you will need to prove that the city received prior written notice of the dangerous condition that caused your injury. Proving notice can be challenging. Additionally, under the New York General Municipal Law, the city responsible for the dangerous condition must receive a Notice of Claim within a brief window of time after your accident. The city will investigate the fall and can ask for a 50-h hearing, during which you give a sworn statement.
You can recover compensatory damages if you can prove liability for a sidewalk accident by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you must show that your version of what happened is more likely true than not true. Compensatory damages can include medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, household services, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
Discuss Your Case with a Sidewalk Accident Lawyer in New York City
When you walk down the street, you do not expect to suffer serious injuries. Property owners in New York City are supposed to provide warnings or repair conditions that could result in sidewalk accidents and falls. Newman, Anzalone & Newman has provided effective legal representation to victims of sidewalk accidents and other types of slip and falls, such as stairway accidents, since 1978. We represent people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or submit our online form.