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Cracked and Broken Sidewalks

November 14, 2013

Pedestrians bustling up and down the sidewalk is a normal part of the scenery of every city. And sidewalk travel is supposed to be safe. However, when you least expect it, you can slip and fall on uneven or cracked and broken sidewalks sustaining injury. The city and/or the owner of the property upon which you are walking is supposed to keep sidewalks and walkways in good repair to minimize the risk of injury to pedestrians.

Cracked and Broken Sidewalks and New York Law

In the city of New York, the responsibility rests on the property owner or the city government to maintain sidewalks to prevent pedestrians from slipping, falling, and sustaining injury. If a property owner owns property which is adjacent to a sidewalk or with a sidewalk on the property, he or she is responsible for maintenance of the entire property including the cracked and broken sidewalks. There is an exception to this rule for one, two, and three-family homes; the owners of these types of properties are not responsible for the proper maintenance of these sidewalks.

The city government or property owner needs to take into account foreseeable risk factors such as: dangerous sidewalks conditions which may cause injury when one is not looking down while walking, cracked and broken sidewalks may not be as noticeable after dark, and cracks and breaks which may not be noticed on a crowded sidewalk.

Under New York Law, there are two instances when a property owner and/or the city is not liable for sidewalk accidents arising from sidewalk defects. The first instance is where the defective portion of the sidewalk is determined to be open and obvious such that a person making reasonable observation should have avoided it. The second instance is where the defective portion of the sidewalk is so trivial that a reasonable person should not have sustained injury because of it.

Suing the City of New York

If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident on a cracked sidewalk in New York City and want to sue the city for damages for your injuries, there are certain steps which you need to take. You are required to serve the city with a written Notice of Claim form, so that the city can investigate the claim. You need to pinpoint the exact location in the claim form to allow the city the opportunity to locate the defective portion of the sidewalk. Furthermore, you must file you lawsuit against the city within one year and 90 days of the time when the injury accident took place this differs from the normal New York statute of limitations of three years in personal injury cases and lawsuits against private property owners.

A New York Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has slipped, fallen and sustained injury as a result of cracked and broken sidewalks in New York City it would be wise to consult with a personal injury attorney to find out your options with regard to how to proceed with your case. A personal injury attorney can help to determine who was at fault and knows which steps to take to maximize your compensation for your injuries. Contact Pulvers, Pulvers & Thompson for free legal consultation in New York.