Serious injuries can result from broken, cracked, or otherwise dangerous city sidewalks. Depending on the hazard, people may trip, slip, or fall, leading to hip and back injuries, bone fractures, head trauma, and more. Property owners are required to maintain sidewalks so as not to endanger pedestrians and to avoid sidewalk accidents. When they fail to do so, the attorneys at Basch & Keegan LLP are here to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence.
Commercial and residential property owners are required by New York law to maintain sidewalks in reasonable conditions and remove hazards to prevent slip, trip, and fall accidents. Unfortunately, however, sidewalk hazards are too often ignored or overlooked – creating dangerous situations for pedestrians.
Sidewalk accidents may be caused by:
Loose brick walkways
Buckling caused by tree roots
Damaged metal sidewalk gratings
Failure to properly remove snow or ice
Poorly performed sidewalk repairs
Gas caps or utility caps sticking up from the sidewalk
Lack of warnings or caution signs in work zones
In order to recover damages in a sidewalk accident case and to file a successful premises liability claim, you must prove there is a known dangerous condition, and that the condition presents an unreasonable risk to people using the sidewalk. You must also show the risk wasn’t obvious — which means you had no duty to notice and to avoid the hazard.
Knowledge of a dangerous sidewalk condition is established by proving:
The property owner created the condition, or
knew the condition existed and failed to correct it, or
the condition existed for so long that it should’ve been discovered and fixed prior to the accident.
Unfortunately, senior citizens, children, disabled people, mothers with strollers, and others with mobility challenges are most likely to be the victims of sidewalk accidents. These are also the people who may find it the most challenging to assert their rights and to bring about a personal injury lawsuit. If you know someone who has fallen on a Kingston-area sidewalk, tell them about Basch & Keegan LLP.
If you slipped or tripped and fell on an uneven sidewalk, you will need to know who to target as you pursue compensation for your injuries. In New York, it is generally the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that the sidewalk is well maintained and reasonably safe for pedestrians. The city used to be responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalks, but responsibility now lies on the adjacent property owner.
This also pertains to keeping the property free of snow or ice. New York has a rule called the “four-hour rule” that if snow stops falling between the hours of 7am and 5pm, sidewalks will have to be shoveled and cleared within four hours. If snow stops falling between 5pm and 9pm, sidewalks must be cleared within 14 hours. Liability would fall on the adjacent property owner if an accident occurred and these guidelines were not followed.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, please contact Basch & Keegan LLP for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. As our client, you will be treated with the respect you deserve, and your case will receive the attention it deserves. We offer flexible appointment times and will meet with you in your home or hospital room if you are recovering from an injury and cannot travel to our Kingston law office.