Slipping and falling on the sidewalk can be frightening and painful. If you are injured, it can be expensive as well. Who is responsible for your injuries if you fall on a broken or icy sidewalk? The answers may surprise you. At The Mandel Law Firm, our New York slip and fall lawyers are waiting to answer your questions.
Property Owner Liability Laws
In New York City, according to the NYC Administrative Code Sidewalk Rules, the property owner has the duty to maintain the sidewalk abutting their property in a “reasonably safe condition.” They must keep the sidewalk in good repair, and keep it free of trash, debris, snow, ice, and make repairs to damaged or broken pavement.
This means that if any injuries are suffered by a pedestrian due to something on the sidewalk or because of damage to the pavement itself, the property owner is liable. The property owner’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering the costs and fees related to the injury.
For sidewalks abutting one-, two-, or three-family owner-occupied houses (such as in a residential district), the responsible party will be the City of New York. More on that below.
Causes and Types of Sidewalk Injuries
The types of damage and defects that can occur on a sidewalk are as varied as sidewalks themselves. Among the things to watch for during a typical walk down the sidewalk are:
- Broken, cracked, or missing flags
- Uneven flags, grates, or maintenance panels
- Seasonal hazards like snow, ice, leaves, or puddles
- Trash, food waste, construction debris, or other rubbish
- Animal waste
- Tree roots, buckled pavement, and branches
All these things cause uneven footing or make pedestrians weave as they walk. In addition, any other moving hazards on the sidewalk, such as skateboarders and bicycle riders, can hit these obstacles and run into you. The most common injuries from sidewalk debris and damage are likely to be:
- Hand, wrist, and arm fractures (from catching yourself as you fall)
- Knee injuries including fractures, ACL tears, meniscus tears, and lacerations
- Head and facial injuries,
- Closed head trauma, concussions, and skull fractures
- Neck and back injuries from serious falls and from colliding with other pedestrians
Compensation for Sidewalk Injuries
As with any slip and fall case, you may recover compensatory damages if you can prove that the conditions of the sidewalk were responsible for your injuries. Once you have proven that your injuries were the fault of the property owner because they failed to maintain their sidewalk, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses and hospital bills
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
How The Mandel Law Firm Can Help
Filing a claim for a sidewalk injury might seem easy enough, but you should have the assistance of a skilled attorney at your side. When filing a personal injury claim, the burden of proof is on you as the claimant to show that the property owner was at fault and that your injuries were caused by their failure to repair their property.
There are also timelines that must be strictly met under the same law that requires property owners to maintain their properties. If the city is responsible, it must receive a Notice of Claim within a very brief period. These are things the layperson does not know, but our attorneys at The Mandel Law Firm do.
We are here to assist you in filing your claim in a timely manner and dealing with the property owner and insurance companies to obtain compensation for your injuries. If you have slipped on a sidewalk or tripped on a tree root and believe you have a claim, contact a New York premises liability lawyer at The Mandel Law Firm at (646) 779-1441 or on our website and let us answer your questions.