Sidewalk accidents in New York City can result in severe injuries, and navigating the legal process afterward can be daunting. When seeking compensation for damages sustained in a sidewalk accident, it’s crucial to identify the responsible parties. Understandably, many prospective clients want to know, Can you sue the city for falling on the sidewalk? In some instances, you might be able to sue the city. In some cases, other parties might be liable for your injuries.
Potential Defendants in a New York Sidewalk Accident Claim
The best way to recover the maximum compensation in a sidewalk accident claim is to ensure you pursue a claim through all potentially liable parties. Here are some of the most common parties who could be responsible for your injuries in a sidewalk accident.
The City of New York
The City of New York could be liable for a sidewalk accident, as it is responsible for maintaining public sidewalks. The city’s department of transportation (DOT) has specific regulations outlining how sidewalks should be constructed and maintained. If the city fails to adhere to these regulations or neglects to repair a known hazard, it can be held responsible for the accident.
However, the city is not automatically liable for every sidewalk accident. Under the New York Administrative Code §7-210, property owners adjacent to the sidewalk are generally responsible for its maintenance, which includes snow and ice removal. Therefore, the city may only be liable if you can prove the city was negligent in its duty to maintain the sidewalk.
Adjacent Property Owners
As mentioned above, the responsibility for maintaining sidewalks typically falls on the adjacent property owners. This duty includes private homeowners and commercial property owners. If a sidewalk accident occurs due to a hazardous condition that the adjacent property owner should have addressed, they can be held liable for the resulting damages.
Examples of hazardous conditions that may result in liability include:
- Accumulation of snow and ice,
- Uneven or cracked pavement,
- Protruding tree roots,
- Loose or missing pavement stones, and
It is essential to note that property owners are not automatically liable for every sidewalk accident either. You must prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining the sidewalk and that this negligence directly led to the accident.
Contractors and Construction Companies
Contractors and construction companies working on or near sidewalks may also share some responsibility for sidewalk accidents if their negligence contributed to the accident. Examples of contractor negligence include:
- Failing to secure construction materials, tools, or equipment, resulting in a tripping hazard;
- Inadequate or missing warning signs around the construction zone; and
- Obstructing the sidewalk without providing a safe alternative path for pedestrians.
In one of these instances, you must prove that the contractor or construction company was negligent in ensuring public safety and that this negligence directly caused the accident.
Utility companies, such as gas, electric, water, or telecommunication providers, may also be held responsible for a sidewalk accident if their negligence led to the hazardous condition. Suppose a utility company fails to properly restore a sidewalk after performing maintenance or installs utility equipment that obstructs the sidewalk. In that case, it could be held liable for any resulting accidents.
What to Do After a Sidewalk Accident in New York
If you suffered injuries in a sidewalk accident, protecting your rights and taking the proper steps are crucial.
- File a Report: Notify the local police department and file an accident report. This official documentation can help support your claim and provides a record of the incident. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also need emergency responders called to the scene.
- Seek medical attention: Your health should be your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they seem minor. Seeking timely treatment also ensures proper documentation of your injuries and evidence to support your claim.
- Document the accident scene: If you can do so safely, take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to capture the hazardous condition that caused your accident. Collect the contact information of witnesses who will corroborate your account of the incident.
- Consult a New York sidewalk accident attorney: Navigating the complexities of a sidewalk accident claim can be challenging. An experienced New York sidewalk accident attorney can help you identify the responsible parties, gather and preserve evidence, and build a solid case to pursue compensation for your injuries.
- Keep detailed records: Maintain records of all medical treatment, expenses, and correspondence with insurance companies, property owners, or other involved parties. These records can be vital in proving your damages and supporting your claim.
- Adhere to deadlines: Be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New York. You generally have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. You must meet this deadline to avoid losing your right to pursue litigation. Three years might seem like a long time, but it’s very easy to miss the deadline inadvertently. You don’t want to find yourself standing in the courtroom facing dismissal from the judge.
One of the best ways to protect yourself in a sidewalk accident claim is to hire a lawyer early on. These claims are typically complex. If you have a claim involving a government entity, the filing deadlines could be much shorter. For example, you might need to file a notice of claim to an administrative agency within six months of your injury. Don’t risk your potential compensation by trying to handle your claim independently.
Contact a New York Sidewalk Accident Lawyer
Identifying the responsible parties in a New York sidewalk accident can be complicated, as liability may lie with the city, adjacent property owners, contractors, construction companies, or utility providers. Fortunately, a skilled New York sidewalk accident lawyer at Ferrante & Koenig, PLLC, can assist. When you hire Anthony A. Ferrante to represent you, he will help you navigate the legal process, determine the responsible parties, and advocate for your rights to fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you are researching answers to questions like, “Who can you sue the city for falling on a sidewalk?” don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. Mr. Ferrante has nearly two decades of experience representing injured victims in New York. He can guide you through this challenging time and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to learn more.