The sidewalks of New York are common sites of accidents caused by poor weather or pavement conditions. If you trip or slip and fall due to no fault of your own, you may be able to recover damages from the person or entity responsible for maintaining that stretch of sidewalk. But how do you know who that is?
Contrary to what many people believe, the City of New York is not liable for most sidewalk accidents. The city Sidewalk Law was amended in 2003 to make building owners responsible for keeping their abutting sidewalks safe for pedestrians. If they neglect to do so, they are liable for resulting injuries.
The city is liable for sidewalk accidents only in these circumstances:
- The accident occurred on public property owned by the city.
- The accident happened on a sidewalk abutting a one, two, or three-family home occupied by the owner.
- The accident occurred on a sidewalk section at a designated City bus stop or bus shelter.
Even in those circumstances, the city cannot be held liable unless it was provided with prior notice of the hazardous condition in writing and failed to timely repair it or provide adequate warning. Sidewalk construction areas must also be clearly marked so pedestrians can avoid accidents.
Due to these limitations on suing the city, it is more likely that you will pursue your sidewalk accident claim against a private landowner. Owners have a duty to keep the sidewalks abutting their properties free from cracks, depressions, potholes and other hazards or obstructions.
Many sidewalk accidents take place during the winter months due to snow and ice accumulation. The landowner responsible for the sidewalk has an obligation to remove snow, ice and debris within a specified amount of time, depending on when the snow stops falling.
There are strict statutes of limitations for sidewalk slip and fall accident claims. In New York, a personal injury lawsuit must be started within two years of the accident. If the city is to be named as a defendant, a notice of claim must be served on the city within 90 days of the accident or the lawsuit may be barred.
Whether your lawsuit is against the city or a private property owner, you may be entitled to recover your unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Sidewalk accident cases can be complex. An experienced premises liability attorney can be invaluable in helping you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Goldberg Sager & Associates provides skilled counsel and aggressive advocacy in a wide variety of personal injury matters in New York. Call 718-514-9516 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Brooklyn office.