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Falling on NYC Sidewalks: Who Is to Blame?

January 10, 2020

With winter fast approaching, pedestrians will soon have another hazard to confront in addition to negligent motorists: snow and ice accumulation. Many people fall on sidewalks in NYC, either because of accumulated precipitation or because of broken or uneven pieces of asphalt.

At Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, we represent injured pedestrians and help them get the compensation they deserve when they take a tumble on the sidewalk. To begin, we first need to identify who is responsible for the upkeep of the portion of the sidewalk where our clients were injured.

The City’s Law

Sidewalk slip and falls accidents are governed by Administrative Code Section 7-210. This law requires that property owners maintain in a “reasonably safe condition” the sidewalk that abuts their property. So the operator of a tavern must keep the sidewalk in front of the establishment reasonably safe. The same is true of a condo association.

Of course, the law requires only that the sidewalk be “reasonably safe,” which does not mean perfectly safe. Instead, everything depends on the circumstances. For example, if a storm is ongoing, then the property owner does not have to constantly shovel the sidewalk in front of the property for the benefit of pedestrians. They also are not responsible for making sure that the sidewalk is perfectly level or that every tiny crack is sealed up.

If you have fallen, then you should meet with an attorney to check whether you have a legitimate legal claim. Your lawyer will examine the state of the sidewalk and other factors to determine how best to proceed.

City Responsibility for Slip and Falls on Sidewalks

Once upon a time, the city was responsible for most slip and fall accidents on sidewalks. However, the city’s administrative code has continually shifted responsibility onto others over the past few years.

Nevertheless, the city might be responsible for the fall if the following conditions are met:

  • The sidewalk abuts residential property that is a one-, two-, or three-family home
  • The property is owner-occupied, at least in part
  • The property is used exclusively for residential purposes

The city must also have prior notice of the defective condition. For example, if a tree root has pushed up through the asphalt, crumbling the sidewalk, the city needs notice of the state of the sidewalk, so they have a chance to fix it. Without notice, the city is not responsible.

If you need to sue the city for compensation, then you must file a notice of your claim with the appropriate administrative office. You will want to work with a lawyer, so you ensure that you meet all the requirements for bringing a claim.

Contact a New York City Slip and Fall Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

After a fall, you should try to get a picture of the hazard and then contact an experienced attorney at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we know how to make an effective claim against a business owner, private citizen, or the city of New York. Call us today to schedule your free consultation, 212-285-3300, or submit our contact form.


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