New York Property Owner’s Sidewalk Liability

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Woman walking as it starts to snow in NYC

New York City has many miles of sidewalks that are heavily trafficked by pedestrians. For this reason, it is critical the sidewalks are free of dangerous conditions that would cause injury. Sidewalk accidents in New York are commonly the result of a failure to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Often, sidewalks are dangerous due to the failure to properly construct them in the first place.

In September 2003, the city enacted the New York Administrative Code (Section 7-210) to address property owner liability for injuries caused by dangerous sidewalk conditions. This shifted responsibility for sidewalk-related accidents to the landowner. In the past, the general rule was that the city would be responsible for the sidewalks.

Sidewalk accidents and slip-and-fall accidents are similar to premises liability accident claims in that they require proof that the property owner was negligent in failing to ensure that the sidewalk was safe. If you have been hurt in a sidewalk accident in New York, the slip and fall accident lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. in Long Island, NY are ready to help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. Call 855-TOP-FIRM now for a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Does the Law Say About Sidewalk Liability?

Under New York law, property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks and keeping them free of snow, ice, and other materials. The main purpose of the law is to excuse the city from any liability for any injuries caused by property owners’ negligence.

In general, the city will only be liable for a sidewalk accident meets if it meets all or one of the following conditions:

  • The relevant portion of the sidewalk borders a one-, two-, or three-family residential home.
  • The owner of the home resides there.
  • The city had prior written notice of the defect.

The city requires that property owners purchase liability insurance to cover injuries related to sidewalk accidents so they can pay for judgments against them. Property owners should take steps to ensure reasonably safe conditions on sidewalks around their premises.

Some examples of sidewalk conditions created by negligence or carelessness include:

  • Cracks in the sidewalk
  • Broken pavement
  • Uneven pavement
  • Loose bricks in sidewalks
  • Metal doors that are lower or higher than the sidewalk’s level

Sidewalk Accidents Caused By Snow or Ice

The cause of a sidewalk accident plays a major role in preparing a case. The “Four-Hour Rule” in New York requires adjacent property owners to clear their sidewalks within four hours after snowfall between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. If property owners fail to remove snow or ice during this mandatory period and an injury happens, they may be held liable.

If it snows at night but stops by 7 a.m., adjacent property owners have until 11 a.m. to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks. If the snowing ceases any time between 5:01 p.m. and 9 p.m., property owners have until the following morning to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalk. Furthermore, there is a “storm in progress” rule that bars any lawsuit involving an accident that happened while it was snowing.

Adjacent property owners have a duty to ensure that the sidewalk is free of snow and ice long after the snow has stopped falling. Adjacent property owners are obligated to use shovels, salt, and other means to ensure that the sidewalks are safe. If you can prove that no salt or sand was applied to an icy sidewalk, you might be able to hold the adjacent property owners accountable.

What To Do When Injured on a New York Sidewalk

If you slipped and fell on a sidewalk in New York, take the following steps to ensure that the at-fault parties are held liable for their negligence:

  • Seek medical attention: Seek medical attention if you believe your injury might be severe.
  • Look for the cause: What caused your slip and fall? Was it a defect on the sidewalk? Was it due to snow or ice sidewalk surface?
  • Photograph your surroundings: If you have a smartphone on you, take plenty of photos of the accident scene. Get pictures of your injuries as well.
  • Collect information from eyewitnesses: Write down the names and phone numbers of anyone who saw your sidewalk injury take place. They could provide vital evidence to aid in recovering financial compensation.
  • Contact a New York slip and fall lawyer: A qualified personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses that were a result of the slip and fall accident.

If you were hurt in a sidewalk accident caused by someone’s negligence, you need to act promptly in order to recover compensation. New York’s laws just allow injured people a limited period of time to bring legal action. You might have to file a notice of claim, and failure to do so could bar a future lawsuit.

Contact a New York Slip and Fall Attorney

Anyone who sustains injuries from a slip and fall on a New York sidewalk should seek medical attention as soon as possible. After your injuries have been tended to, it’s critical that you speak with a skilled and slip and fall attorney about your situation. At Finz & Finz, P.C., in Long Island, NY we are staunch advocates for our clients. We will carry out an in-depth investigation of your slip and fall, collecting evidence that helps identify all the liable parties.

It’s critical that we start investigating your case as soon as possible. Our attorneys understand the road to recovery that comes with these sidewalk accident injuries, and we will fight tirelessly to recover all the financial compensation you need and deserve. If you have sustained injuries from a slip and fall accident in New York, call now at 855-TOP-FIRM for a free and confidential consultation.