New York City Sidewalk & Walkway Accident Attorney
You live in New York City —“The Concrete Jungle.” One thing all New Yorkers can agree on is that the city’s sidewalks and roads are uneven, buckled, cracked or scattered with potholes. As a pedestrian in NYC, one can unsuspectedly and easily trip and fall and injure themselves simply by walking.
On a normal day, a lady parks her car on the curbside. She gets out of the car and onto the sidewalk. She starts to walk and several feet later she suddenly falls, injuring various parts of her body. She then looks over to see what happened and notices an uneven sidewalk slab that caused her to trip.
Who is responsible?
For these types of cases (premises liability), the notice requirement is crucial—e.g. landowner had actual notice of defect or should have known about defect.
When someone is injured due to a sidewalk/walkway defect in New York City, this notice requirement works in conjunction with NYC Administrative Code §7-210(b) (“The Sidewalk Rule”) which expressly provides that owners of real property abutting any sidewalk will be liable for someone else’s injuries if those injuries were proximately caused by the owner’s failure to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. This law does not apply to 1, 2 or 3-family residential real property that are “in whole or in part, owner occupied, and used exclusively for residential purposes.”
Let’s add some more facts and say that the sidewalk defect from the example was located in front of a 1-family house.
This fact will trigger NYC Administrative Code §7-210(c), which puts liability on the city if someone injures themselves due to unmaintained sidewalks abutting one-, two- or three-family residential real property that is (i) in whole or in part, owner occupied, and (ii) used exclusively for residential purposes.
NYC Administrative Code §7-210(b) and (c) seem to suggest that if the sidewalk defect (which caused you to trip/slip & fall) adjoins a 1, 2, or 3-family residential real property, then the City bears the primary liability. Alternatively, if the sidewalk defect adjoins a store, vacant lot, or apartment building (or anything other than a 1, 2, 3-family residential real property), the owner of such property is primarily liable.
Liability cases are rarely this simple or straightforward; they are complicated with specific nuances that need to be considered. Because of this reality, a good rule of thumb is to assert claims against all potential defendants (City & Owners) to preserve all of your rights under the law. At Michael Manoussos & Co. PLLC, a NYC personal injury law firm, we know how tricky premises liability cases can be, and we are prepared for it.