Decorative sidewalks and pathways are the latest trend in New York City. Office buildings, apartment complexes, department stores, and other such facilities are spending huge amounts of money to construct uniquely-styled walkways in an effort to avoid the ordinary and add charm to their exteriors. But in their rush to beautify their sidewalks, property owners may be overlooking an important consideration – pedestrian safety.
Traditionally, the walkways leading up to commercial buildings and apartment complexes were constructed using brushed concrete. They had flat surfaces, a uniform width, and followed a straight line to the building entrance. While their look may have been a bit “boring” by modern architectural standards, traditional walkways provided a clear path and were relatively easy to shovel clear of snow and ice.
Today’s decorative walkways, on the other hand, use stamped, engraved, and oversized exposed aggregate concrete. They wind circuitously through surrounding landscaping, change elevation abruptly, and can even contain planter beds or tree wells within the walkway itself. For aesthetic purposes, these walkways may have designs or deep grooves cut into them. They may also include randomly placed pavers, brick accents, and irregularly shaped natural stones.
There is a trade-off involved with decorative sidewalks. The visual appeal of these walkways comes at the expense of providing a safe walking surface. There may be unsafe grooves or raised stone within the walkway. Pedestrians are often distracted and do not expect to have to concentrate their full attention to the task of navigating a sidewalk. After all, common sense tells us that using a sidewalk should be rather easy.
Customers, tenants, and other pedestrians are simply trying to make it from the parking lot to the front doors of their destination without twisting an ankle, or worse. Unfortunately, the decorative walkway trend is making this more difficult – especially in the wintertime, when walkway surfaces are less visible.
Financial compensation is available to the victims of trip and fall accidents caused by unsafe decorative sidewalks. When our firm accepts a case, we identify the responsible parties, whether they are property owners, managers, or the City of New York. We investigate and document the cause of the accident and the full extent of the injuries. Our attorneys, investigators, and support staff work together to build a case that leaves no doubt as to liability and maximizes recovery for the victim.
At the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel, we handle office building accidents, apartment complex accidents, department store accidents, and any other slip and fall accident that results from defective walkways. If you have been injured while walking on an unsafe decorative walkway, give us a call today at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.