What Responsibility Do Property Owners Have for Sidewalks in New York?


One common misconception that people in New York have when it comes to premises liability questions is that the city is solely responsible for the upkeep of sidewalks. In reality, since Local Law 49 amended the Administrative Code of the City of New York in 2003, property owners are (for the most part) solely liable for injuries that occur due to poorly maintained sidewalks abutting their property.

Property owners are required to carry liability insurance under Local Law 54 of 2003, and they should take steps to document inspections, repairs, and upkeep. If they fail to adequately maintain the sidewalk, they could be held liable for any injuries that occur.

Accidents Caused by Negligent Sidewalk Upkeep

Property owners are responsible for keeping their sidewalks in “reasonably safe condition.” This means keeping sidewalks in reasonably good repair and free from:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Dirt
  • Debris
  • Other tripping hazards

The City of New York is not responsible for injuries caused by poorly maintained sidewalks, and liability will typically fall on the property owner if they fail to meet these obligations.

Commonly-Reported Sidewalk Injuries

A poorly maintained sidewalk can create a hazardous condition for patrons, guests, employees, and passersby. Some commonly reported injuries caused by slips, trips, or falls on sidewalks include:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Strains, sprains, and soft-tissue injuries
  • Back and spine injuries
  • Spinal cord damage, including paralysis in severe cases
  • Neck injuries
  • Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Scrapes, cuts, and lacerations
  • Knee and elbow injuries

While some slips and falls result in nothing more than bumps and bruises, others could require immediate medical attention or hospitalization. The resulting treatment and other costs (lost wages, loss of future earnings, travel for treatment, etc.) can often be painful, stressful, and expensive. When an accident is caused by a property owner’s failure to maintain the sidewalk, the owner or manager could owe the victim significant compensation for the harm they suffer.

Contact a New York Sidewalk Injury Lawyer

The injury attorneys of Finz & Finz, P.C., have been protecting the rights of residents and visitors to New York City since 1984. We have secured over $1 Billion for our clients, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you. If you slipped, tripped, or fell on a poorly-maintained sidewalk, we want to hear from you right away. We’ll explain your rights and legal options during a free case evaluation. Call us at 1-855-TOP-FIRM today.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.