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Sidewalk Laws in New York City 1

Sidewalk Laws in New York City

New York City has about 13,000 miles of sidewalks, which are heavily travelled upon by pedestrians.  It is therefore important that the sidewalks are safe and free of defect or dangerous conditions that would cause fall and injury.  Sidewalks are subject to wear and tear and to the effects of the environment and climate.  Sidewalks crack, buckle, collapse; sidewalks slope with downward depressions or upward elevations; sidewalk cracks or holes accumulate moisture that cause deterioration and distortion; sidewalks are uplifted by tree roots; etc.

The City of New York enacted a change to the law concerning property owner liability for injuries caused by unsafe sidewalk conditions. The law, Local Law 49 of 2003, amended the Administrative Code of the City of New York requires most property owners solely liable for injuries caused by their failure to maintain sidewalks abutting their property in

reasonably safe condition.  This law has been in effect since September 16, 2003.Sidewalk Laws in New York City 4

Under existing New York City law (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island), property owners are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining sidewalks in good condition and keeping them free of snow, ice, dirt, and other materials, per Sections 19-152 and 16-123 of the NYC Administrative Code. The primary purpose of the law is to excuse the City of New York from any liability for injuries caused by property owners’ failure to meet their obligation under this law.  The law, however, does not apply to one family, two family or three family residential properties that are owner-occupied and used exclusively for residential purposes.  For such properties, the City of New York may still be the responsible liable party.

To ensure that property owners have the financial capacity to pay for any claims or judgments against them, the City requires the property owner to purchase liability insurance to cover sidewalk-related injuries, per Local Law 54 of 2003.

The NYC Department of Transportation inspects sidewalks and notify the property owner of any needed repairs. In the event timely repairs are not made by the property owner, the City may hire private construction companies to make the repairs. When this happens, the City bills the property owner for the costs of the repairs (which may not be at the best negotiated cost).

Property owners in New York City must be mindful of this law and ensure that the entire sidewalk adjoining their property from their property lines to curb remain in good repair and free from snow and ice.

Pedestrians injured in a fall due to a defect or dangerous sidewalk or due to snow or ice on a sidewalk have recourse primarily against the property owner under Sections 19-152 and 16-123 of the NYC Administrative Code or otherwise against the City.

Michael Manoussos & Co PLLC are experienced New York City personal injury attorneys who are Multi-Million Dollar Advocates and The Top 100 Trial Lawyers.  Call 718-454-8888 or email at mm@mmlaw-pllc.com for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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