Craig Rosenbaum | January 28, 2022 | Slip and Fall Accidents
Were you recently injured in a fall on a NYC sidewalk? If someone else caused you to fall, then you might be able to sue to collect compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Accidents involving slips, trips, and falls on New York’s city sidewalks are a common cause of injuries. Falling accidents can cause severe injuries and can even result in death.
Why Do Sidewalk Accidents Occur in NYC?
Sidewalk slip and fall accidents in New York can happen for any number of reasons. City sidewalks often become cracked, broken, or uneven due to poor maintenance, lack of proper repair, or faulty construction. When these defects are ignored, they cause an even more dangerous situation for pedestrians. Over time, sidewalks can develop potholes.
New York City pothole accidents on sidewalks usually happen in late winter or early spring. This is when water from snow and rain makes its way through cracks and unrepaired sections of the sidewalk.
When the temperature drops below freezing, the water expands under the pavement and forces it to lift. After it thaws, the soil weakens and creates a hole under the pavement. Foot traffic ultimately breaks the pavement causing the pothole to form.
NYC Sidewalk Accident Lawsuits
Just because you fall because of a dangerous city sidewalk doesn’t automatically mean that you will be compensated for your injuries.
New York’s personal injury law says that a sidewalk accident victim must prove that those responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk must either have known (or should have known) that a dangerous condition existed.
Injured victims must also be able to prove the sidewalk’s dangerous condition represented a “substantial factor” causing the injury.
Most towns and cities have their own specific laws determining responsibility for sidewalks within their jurisdiction. The owner of property abutting that sidewalk or the town or city government is usually responsible for maintaining the sidewalk.
In the City of New York, for example, according to the NYC Administrative Code (Sec. 7-210), an owner of a property that abuts the sidewalk is generally responsible for keeping the sidewalk safe. The only exception to that rule is, when the sidewalk abuts either a one-, two-, or three-family dwelling occupied by the property owner, the city is responsible.
You Must Prove That the Property Owner Knew of the Dangerous Condition
Most premises liability cases will require you to prove that the property owner knew of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. Depending on who the owner is – a private business or public entity – what’s required and the timeline for filing your claim may vary.
Suppose you are injured in a New York City slip and fall accident on a sidewalk that the city is responsible for. If you fell because the sidewalk was not properly maintained, you may be able to file a claim against the City. However, in that case, you must also be able to prove that city officials had prior notice, in writing, regarding the dangerous condition.
In other words, it is up to the sidewalk slip and fall victim to prove that city officials knew about the sidewalk’s dangerous condition before the accident date.
If the slip and fall accident is due to ice or snow, the injured person must prove that the responsible party knew or at least should have known that ice and snow had accumulated on the sidewalk. They also must prove that it had not been cleared of ice and snow during a reasonable time frame.
What to Do if You Suffer a Slip and Fall Accident on a NYC Sidewalk
If you have fallen on a sidewalk in NYC, there are a few things that you need to do immediately to ensure that your claim is taken seriously and that you can collect the compensation that you deserve.
Some of these steps include the following:
- Take photos: Be sure to take pictures of the sidewalk condition at the time of the accident and take pictures of any injuries you may have suffered.
- Collect information: Be sure to collect contact information from any witnesses that may have seen the slip and fall accident. If possible, get the contact information of the owners of the property that abuts the sidewalk.
- Seek medical attention: Always seek medical attention following a slip and fall sidewalk accident in New York City. Even if your injuries don’t seem serious, having a medical report will help your case further down the line.
- Contact a New York personal injury lawyer: Slip and fall sidewalk cases can be complex. A New York City personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process and help you to recover the damages you deserve.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a New York City sidewalk accident, you should immediately contact a New York personal injury lawyer.
If the City itself is responsible, sidewalk accident victims file a “Notice of Claim” following a slip and fall. This notice provides the city with information such as where, when, and how the accident happened, as well as why the injured party believes that the city is at fault. New York City has a strict 90-day window to file your Notice of Claim against the city.