In most cases, two parties can be held responsible for a “slip & fall” or another injury on New York sidewalks. New York has shifted the responsibility for sidewalk upkeep and maintenance to the property owners adjacent to the walkways in most parts of the city. In some cases of premise liability, though, the city of New York would still be held responsible. This is where a Bronx personal injury lawyer can help.
This type of case is usually handled as a personal injury, or more precisely, a premise liability case. Depending on the details of your accident and where and how it happened, the owner of the adjacent property and the city of New York could be held accountable.
The city of New York has specific criteria if they are to be held accountable for the accident.
- The area is not maintained up to city standards.
- The accident happened on public property or in a public area.
- The area is under some type of construction or repair and is not marked as such.
- It adjoins a one, two, three-family home occupied by property owners for residential purposes.
Some of the most common sidewalk injuries simply may be due to ice or snow in the winter. Uneven sidewalks can cause you to trip and fall. Construction of any kind has to be marked very clearly to avoid harming yourself on materials or uneven surfaces.
The city also demands notice requirements for sidewalks that they manage. The city must have been notified in writing at least 14 days after your incident occurred. If the city was not notified within that time frame, you would not be able to recover any damages.
If the property is anything other than a one, two, or three-family home, then the owner holds the full responsibility for maintenance of the sidewalk and your accident. Any three family homes also must be used as a private residence for the owner to not be held responsible. If the multi-unit property is a business or rental property, then the building owners need to maintain the sidewalks adjacent to it and are accountable.
In 2003, the city of New York lobbied to have these laws changed, as they used to be held responsible for maintaining most of their sidewalks. After that, the owners are responsible for calling in any issues such as icy conditions or a broken sidewalk.
The best way to begin your premises liability case is to consult with an injury attorney, striving to recover the compensation their clients deserve. They will be able to consult with you on all facts that pertain to your case. Then you can know exactly who is responsible, how your case should be presented, and how to receive the compensation you need.
Can I Sue if I fall on a New York Sidewalk, and What Can I Expect?
Of course, there are many details of any lawsuit, but the short answer is, yes you can. If you have suffered injuries due to some other person’s, or institution’s, actions (or lack thereof), they can be held accountable no matter who they may be.
Whether your lawsuit is against an individual or the City itself, the usual defense for them to take is that your negligence was the real cause of your accident. They may declare that you were all or partially to blame, but in most well-prepared premises liability cases, you still may recover significant compensation. New York state is a “pure comparative negligence” state, and although you still may be awarded compensation, the state will reduce the awarded amount by your determined percentage of fault.
New York being a “pure comparative negligence” state is absolutely the main reason that you need to consult with a personal injury lawyer who is versed in premises liability law. These cases are complex, as they may have multiple owners and parties involved. The at-fault parties may not agree as to the percentage they are determined to be at fault, or the compensation demanded. It is especially difficult if you sue the city of New York itself. Consult with a local ice and snow injury attorney and provide the complete details of your case, and they can argue on your behalf.
What Should I Do Right After I am Injured on a New York Sidewalk?
First and foremost, seek medical attention right away! Call 911 if immediately needed, or if you feel you are able, you can go to a local emergency room or personal physician. Having a medical report from the attending physician as soon as you can will help greatly with any premises liability case your attorney might file.
If you are able, or if someone there is there to help, take as many pictures as you can in and around the scene of the accident.
Try to focus on these points:
- The exact location of your accident and its relation to the buildings, businesses, and structures nearby.
- Whether your accident was entirely adjacent, or in front of one business, or between two or more.
- Any and all dangerous conditions that may have contributed to your accident.
- General street and sidewalk conditions at the time of the accident.
- Detailed images of the injuries sustained.
Get the names, addresses, and contact information for all the witnesses you can. The more information you can document at the scene of the accident itself, the more information your personal injury attorney will have to fight for your rights and be successful in helping you face the future.