Who is Responsible for New York City Sidewalks Defects?

So you tripped and fell over a raised sidewalk in the City of New York. You slipped and fell on ice on the sidewalk. Who is responsible for fixing the sidewalk? Who is liable for injuries suffered? Who do I sue? Well, in New York City the owner of the property adjoining the sidewalk is responsible for fixing the sidewalk. Whether the abutting property is a vacant lot, single family home, an apartment building, a commercial skyscraper, it doesn't matter. In every instance the adjoining owner is responsible for fixing sidewalk defects at their own expense, whether or not the City has issued a violation for the defect. Such is true whether the defect is a raise, crack, hole, snow, or ice. When a violation is issued by the City, and the owner fails to repair the condition in the alotted time, then the City of New York may make the repairs and bill and/or fine the owner. When the City of New York is the owner of the adjoining property they are responsible for the repairs. Further, there are certain sidewalks that the City of New York has agreed to maintain over the years through written agreements, as a matter of public policy, even though they don't own the property. One example would be the sidewalk in front of the main branch of the Public Library in Manhattan. So now you know who is responsible for fixing the sidewalk, but who do you sue if you are injured due to a broken sidewalk condition? Under a law passed in 2003 and applicable to all accidents since that date the owner of the adjoining property is liable for any injury for the failure to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. However, when the adjoining property consists of one, two or three family residential real property that is in whole or part owner occupied and used exclusively for residential purposes, then the City of New York is the entity that is be liable for the compensating injured parties. The controlling law is New York City Administrative Code Section 7-210. Of course, just because you fell and are injured does not mean that a recovery is automatic. There are many other obstacles to overcome and rules to consider. For example there are statutes of limitations and notice of claim requirements that have to be met. There will be questions of whether the responsible party had notice of the condition or created the condition. Was the condition: trivial; open and obvious; easily avoided; caused by or owned by a third party such as a contractor or the Transit Authority; caused by a storm in progress; not part of the sidewalk at all, but actually the curb or a tree well? All such questions must be considered before a determination is made as to whether there is an actionable lawsuit, and who the potential defendants are. If you tripped or slipped and were injured you can call us for a free consultation. - Marc Miner, Esq. Zalman & Schnurman is a New York law firm that concentrates in personal injury actions such as construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, premises liability, trip and falls, slip and falls, snow and ice cases, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Learn more at www.1800Lawline.com, or contact us at 1-800-LAWLINE, or 1-800-529-5463 New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Rockland County. The information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not meant as legal advice or to cover all possible facts or factors. An attorney should be consulted to discuss specific facts and laws.

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