New York City Sidewalk Trip and Fall Accidents
Let’s face it, the sidewalks in New York City are a mess. Too often, they have cracks, uneven areas, sudden raises and broken parts where someone can easily catch their foot, fall and be injured. Because sidewalks are such an integral part of our City, their safety should be paramount.
New York City Sidewalk Law – Maintenance & Repair Responsibilities
As a general rule, New York City sidewalks must be safe for everyone, including the elderly, disabled, children and the blind. Usually, the law in New York City requires a property owner to maintain that portion of the sidewalk next to its, his or her property.
However, if the adjoining property is a one, two or three-family home, occupied by the owner in whole or part and used exclusively by the owner for residential purposes, then the City of New York is responsible for maintaining the adjacent sidewalk (see http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/19-152.shtml).
For example, the owner of a large commercial office building is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk next to its building. In contrast, the City of New York is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk next to a single-family home where the homeowner lives there and uses it only as a residence.
New York Sidewalk Law – Proving Negligence
In order to recover money damages for a sidewalk trip-and-fall accident, the injured person must prove:
a. in cases involving the City of New York: that the City of New York had prior written notice of the sidewalk condition which caused his or her accident for at least 15 days before the happening of the accident and failed to repair it;
b. in cases involving parties other than the City of New York: that the property owner knew about (“actual notice”) or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known about (“constructive notice”) about the dangerous sidewalk condition involved in the accident and failed to fix it;
c. in all New York City sidewalk trip-and-fall cases regardless of the named parties: that the adjoining property owner was negligent, that the adjoining property owner’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the accident and that the injured person suffered damages (for example, physical injury) as a result of the adjoining property owner’s negligence.
New York City Sidewalk Law – Additional Bases for Liability
In addition to the above, one who causes or creates a dangerous condition on the sidewalk may be responsible for someone else injured by it. For example, a construction contractor who digs a huge hole in the sidewalk and fails to fill the hole may be responsible for injuries suffered by someone who steps into the hole. Logically, someone who creates a problem with the sidewalk should be responsible for injuries caused by that problem.
Moreover, the doctrine of special use or special benefit is reserved for situations where an adjoining property owner uses the sidewalk for its, his or her own special benefit, whereby that special use or benefit results in responsibility for that portion of the sidewalk put to special use. For example, the owner of an iron trapdoor that is embedded in a sidewalk will assume responsibility for that area of the sidewalk due to the special use derived from the iron trapdoor.
We Can Help You
As you can see, the New York City sidewalks laws are intricate and can be confusing. Blake G. Goldfarb has handled hundreds of trip and fall cases involving sidewalk defects, resulting in substantial monetary awards for his clients. He is fully versed and highly skilled in sidewalk liability and is regularly consulted by other lawyers for his expertise.
If you or a family member has been injured in a sidewalk trip-and-fall case, and would like to achieve optimum results on your case.
Call Blake Goldfarb NYC Sidewalk Trip and Fall Attorney today at 1-844-672-5253 or e-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org.
We offer free initial consultations and do not charge a legal fee unless you win.