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10 May 2015

Trip & Fall: Who Is Responsible For New York City Potholes?

Potholes are everywhere in New York City…

From crosswalks to sidewalks, it is nearly impossible to go anywhere in the City without encountering these structural damages.

Unfortunately, potholes can be hazardous for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

300,000+ Potholes Repaired In New York City

New York City has more than 6,000 miles of sidewalks, many of which have potholes or other structural defects which can be hazardous.

According to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), there have been more than 300,000+ potholes repaired during this winter maintenance season.

While the City does make an effort to repair hazardous potholes, there is only so much that can be done.

It seems like every time a pothole is fixed, another pops up somewhere else in the city.

Trip & Fall Pothole Accidents In NYC

Unfortunately, potholes can be more than just an inconvenience. In fact, they are often responsible for serious slip or trip accidents for pedestrians walking in New York City.

What Is A Pothole?

A pothole is a disruption in an asphalt pavement which forms a depression in the ground over time.

Multiple factors can contribute to creating a pothole including water, changes in temperature, normal wear and tear and time.

Potholes are commonly formed in winter during freeze-thaw cycles. Cracks often form in roadways and on sidewalks. When left unattended, these cracks will absorb water.

During the winter months, cold temperatures cause the water to freeze and expand. Over time, this process causes the asphalt to weaken and ultimately create a pothole.

Who Is Responsible For New York City Potholes?

It depends…

Many people who suffer an injury after slipping or tripping on potholes are curious about their legal rights.

The ability to successfully recover compensation for an injury that was caused by a city pothole can depend on several factors.

The location of the pothole, how long it existed and whether or not it was reported prior to the accident can all be factors to consider when pursuing justice.

For decades the City was primarily responsible for injuries sustained as a result of a city pothole.

However, a local ordinance was passed in 1974 which required an injured person to prove that prior written notice of the specific defect that caused the injury had been given to the New York City Department of Transportation.

Today New York City is typically responsible for injuries that occur due to potholes in the street, but are not generally responsible for potholes on sidewalks.

Potholes on sidewalks are usually the responsibility of the owner of the property which is adjacent to the defective sidewalk.

Can I Sue For A Trip and Fall On The Sidewalk?

It is possible to file a lawsuit for a trip and fall accident that was caused by a pothole in New York City.

If you tripped on a sidewalk pothole you must be able to prove that the pothole existed for a sufficient period of time to allow a reasonable landowner to have discovered and fixed the defect.

If you tripped on a pothole in the street or a crosswalk you must be able to prove that the pothole had been reported to the City and that there was sufficient time for the City to fix the defective street.

Contact A New York City Slip & Fall Lawyer

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to a pothole you may be entitled to compensation for damages. However, it can be difficult to prove negligence in these types of cases.

At Lipsig, Shapey, Manus and Moverman, P.C. we are committed to helping victims of trip and fall accidents in New York recover the compensation that they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation on your legal rights.