Determining liability in the case of a sidewalk accident in New York City has always been difficult. First, the victim needs to prove that a defect (such as a hole, crack or raised flagstone or uncleared ice and snow in winter months) caused their fall and injuries. Next, they need to determine who is legally responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk. Years ago, the city was almost always responsible for maintenance. That responsibility shifted a few years ago to fall mostly on the shoulders of the adjacent property owner (with several notable exceptions). Now a new court decision has taken the uncertainty about who is responsible for a sidewalk accident in New York City.
The court case in question was decided in New York’s highest court. The court squarely placed the responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks (thus the financial liability for any accidents or injuries) on the shoulders of property owner.
This case specifically concerned “out of possession” landlords or landlords who do not have “control” of the property (generally by virtue of a lease agreement). For years, in New York City these landlords were considered exempt from liability in most accident cases. However, this new decision shatters that invulnerability and makes all property owners of greater than three family homes legally responsible to maintain and clear the public sidewalk adjacent to their properties. In cases where the home is not used for residential purposes or is not owner occupied, then property owners of less than three family homes would also be responsible for the adjacent sidewalk.
However, proving liability is complex and in order to recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and time out of work, you will require the expert assistance of a New York City sidewalk accident attorney well-versed in the law and experience.
If you’ve been injured due to a slip or trip on a defective sidewalk, contact the skilled and competent attorneys at the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel. Call 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 for a free consultation right now.