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Can I Sue If I Fall on a New York City Sidewalk?

Posted in Premises Liability on December 22, 2021

Can I Sue If I Fall on a New York City Sidewalk?

Sidewalks are a crucial element of pedestrian navigation, especially in a busy city like New York. In fact, the DOT estimates that NYC has over 12,000 miles of sidewalk.

The presence of that many sidewalks means a whole lot of maintenance. A poorly maintained sidewalk can become a serious safety hazard.

If you’ve been injured by falling on a sidewalk in New York City, it’s possible to sue and receive compensation for the damages.

Who Owns a Sidewalk?

Sidewalk ownership can get a little technical. A sidewalk is usually considered to be a public right-of-way. If a sidewalk runs through your property, you can’t stop people from using it or otherwise block foot traffic in any way.

Although public access is granted on a sidewalk, maintaining it is still the responsibility of the property owner. This is true for both residential properties and businesses.

In some instances, a sidewalk is considered to be part of public land. In those cases, it’s the government’s responsibility to keep the sidewalk safe and usable.

Does My Fall Qualify for a Lawsuit?

If you’ve fallen on a New York City sidewalk, contacting an attorney is an essential first step. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to present a winnable case without legal guidance. Determining who to sue can be tricky in this sort of situation.

You’ll need to first determine who the responsible party is – an individual, a business, or the government. Next, you’ll need to clarify what caused your fall.

Did you fall because a sidewalk had crooked or broken pavement or holes? Did you slip in a spilled smoothie in front of a coffee shop? Or did you trip over a child’s marbles in front of a private residence?

The details of your fall are important. Details reveal any negligence that might have been related to the specific state of the sidewalk at the time of your injury.

Criteria for a Lawsuit

For a sidewalk fall, you may decide to file a premises liability claim. If you’re serious about pursuing a lawsuit over a sidewalk, you’ll have to show that:

  • The property owner failed to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonable manner
  • The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard
  • The sidewalk was a primary factor in the fall
  • The fall caused damages

Many sidewalks in New York City are public property. To protect against ongoing or excessive claims, New York City requires written notice of the state of the sidewalk. This gives the city a chance to become aware of and fix areas that might endanger pedestrians.

Before you can sue New York City over a sidewalk, you must have proof that the city received prior written notice about the hazardous state of the sidewalk.

Know Your Options

A sidewalk fall can be a serious matter. In addition to injury, you may face medical bills and missed time at work. Moreover, a serious fall can have long-term consequences like physical therapy or chronic pain. Some people may even need reconstructive surgery if the fall is bad enough.

Sometimes, falls just happen because you weren’t paying attention. However, they’re much less likely to occur if the sidewalk is in a safe condition and well-maintained.

If you’ve fallen on a sidewalk and you believe negligence in the care and keeping of the sidewalk played a role in your injuries, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.

It’s a good idea to arrange a consultation to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. Without taking the time to check, you could end up paying for the consequences of someone else’s negligence.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the NYC personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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