NYC Sidewalk Accident Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been injured because of an uneven, damaged or slippery sidewalk in NYC, you may have the legal right to bring a claim for your injuries. However, these claims are complex, which is why you need to speak with an experienced sidewalk slip or trip and fall New York City attorney.

New York City residents are constantly on the move, requiring quick reflexes to maneuver through the crowded streets. Unfortunately, this means you may not have the opportunity to avoid every dangerous hazard out there. When sidewalks are not properly maintained, holes and uneven areas can develop. Property owners also fail to live up to their obligations to make sidewalks safe after a snowstorm.  If one of these hazards causes you to trip and fall, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.

There is no cost to speak to us about your case. We’re here to help.

Who Is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Sidewalk Accident in NYC?

Determining liability in a sidewalk accident is challenging. There may be more than one party at fault. Commercial and residential property owners have a duty under New York law to maintain their sidewalks. They must keep sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses in a reasonably safe condition. If they don’t, they may be held liable if you can show:

  • They knew, or should’ve known, about the hazard or dangerous condition;
  • They failed to take appropriate steps to make the condition safe; 
  • The hazard played a substantial role in causing your injuries; and
  • You suffered physical or economic damages.

If you are wondering why the City of New York doesn’t maintain sidewalks, it’s because amendments made to the New York City Administrative Code in 2003 transferred the responsibility to property owners.

Commercial and residential property owners have a duty under New York law to maintain their sidewalks.

What Does the New York City Administrative Code Say About Sidewalk Liability?

There are two main sections under the New York City Administrative Code that deal with NYC sidewalk law. 

The first is Section 7-210, which shifts responsibility for the maintenance of sidewalks to the adjacent property owners. However, there is an exception.  This rule does not apply where the building adjacent to the sidewalk is a one-, two-, or three-family residence that is either in whole or in part occupied by the owner and only used for residential purposes.

The second is Section 19-152, which details property owners’ exact duties with respect to keeping their sidewalks free of obstacles and danger. Under the NYC sidewalk law, property owners are responsible for installing, repaving, constructing, and repairing sidewalks that have “substantial defects.” A substantial defect in the sidewalk can be many things, including a section that is raised more than ½” from the adjacent section.  

This section also defines other sidewalk defects that are the property owner’s responsibility. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Sidewalk cracks that are so severe they have one or more sections that can be loosened or removed;
  • Sidewalks that are missing entire sections; and
  • Sidewalks with an improper slope that doesn’t allow water to drain onto the curb properly.

In those cases where the adjacent property falls into the owner-occupied 1-2-3 family home exception, responsibility for the sidewalk reverts to the City of New York.  In order to prove a case against the City, you would need to show that they were in receipt of prior written notice of the exact defective condition that caused your sidewalk trip and fall.  This is not an easy task, and often is not possible.  Nonetheless an experienced trip and fall lawyer may be able to different avenues of liability against the City, the private landowner or some other entity.  This is why it’s crucial to have a skilled New York sidewalk accident attorney on your side.

Wherever you are, we’re here to help:


  • Crown Heights
  • Flatbush
  • Ditmas Park
  • East Flatbush
  • Remsen Village
  • Prospect Park
  • Prospect Lefferts Gardens
  • Windsor Terrace
  • Kensington
  • Ocean Parkway
  • Brownsville
  • Canarsie
  • East New York
  • Cypress Hills
  • New Lots
  • Starrett City
  • Bedford–Stuyvesant
  • Stuyvesant Heights
  • Bushwick
  • East Williamsburg
  • Greenpoint
  • Williamsburg
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Cadman Plaza
  • Clinton Hill
  • Downtown Brooklyn
  • Fort Greene

What Are the Most Common Causes of Sidewalk Accidents in NYC?

A variety of factors can cause sidewalk accidents. In some cases, multiple factors lead to someone sustaining injuries. The most common causes of sidewalk accidents include:

  • Snow and ice;
  • Broken or missing section of sidewalk;
  • Raised or uneven sidewalk; 
  • Dangerous, broken or uneven metal utility cap or cover; or 
  • Debris/liquid caused/allowed to exist on the sidewalk
  • Lack of proper lighting at night or beneath a sidewalk shed/scaffolding

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of the types of dangerous conditions that may cause your sidewalk trip and fall accident.  Regardless of the condition that caused your accident, it is important to preserve your rights by following these immediate steps. 

If you have suffered a sidewalk injury in New York City, contact us today to discuss your options.

Liability After a Sidewalk Slip and Fall on Snow and Ice

New York has special rules with respect to clearing sidewalks and making them safe following a snow storm.  Snow and ice cases can be very successful, but are sometimes difficult to prove.  

Generally speaking, a landlord or property manager is responsible for making their sidewalks, walkways and parking lots safe.  However New York City and New York State law generally affords property owners four-hours after the stoppage of snow/precipitation to shovel, de-ice and make their sidewalks and property safe for pedestrians.  Importantly, the overnight hours between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. do not count toward that 4 hour period. In other words: 

  • If snow stops falling between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., sidewalks must be cleared within four hours.
  • If snow stops falling between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., sidewalks must be cleared within 14 hours.
  • If snow stops falling between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., sidewalks must be cleared by 11 a.m.

Even if your incident doesn’t fit within the times described above, a skilled and experienced snow and ice slip and fall accident attorney (aided by solid photographic evidence), may still be able to prove your case. Documenting the scene immediately following your fall can help prove the conditions at the time of the accident. 

An important thing to be aware of is the “Storm in progress” doctrine.  In ten words or less, the doctrine states that you cannot successfully sue after a snow and ice fall if the storm (snow or rain) is ongoing.  Nonetheless, an experienced slip and fall lawyer may still be able to craft a successful argument depending on the specific facts of your fall.    

Wherever you are, we’re here to help:


  • Prospect Heights
  • Vinegar Hill
  • Boerum Hill
  • Carroll Gardens
  • Columbia Street Waterfront District
  • Cobble Hill
  • Gowanus
  • Park Slope
  • South Park Slope
  • Greenwood Heights
  • Red Hook
  • Bergen Beach 
  • Georgetown
  • Coney Island
  • Brighton Beach
  • West Brighton
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Sea Gate
  • Sheepshead Bay 
  • Midwood
  • Flatlands
  • Gerritsen Beach
  • Gravesend
  • Marine Park
  • Mill Basin
  • Bay Ridge
  • Fort Hamilton
  • Bensonhurst
  • Bath Beach
  • New Utrecht
  • Borough Park
  • Dyker Heights
  • Sunset Park

What Types of Injuries Are Commonly Caused by Dangerous Sidewalk Conditions in NYC?

Injuries resulting from a dangerous sidewalk will vary in their type and severity, depending on what caused your accident. Some common injuries include: 

Injuries resulting from a dangerous sidewalk will vary in their type and severity, depending on what caused your accident. Some common injuries include: 


  • Hip fracture; 
  • Bi- or Tri-Malleolar fracture of the ankle; 
  • Fractured distal radius or scaphoid of the wrist – which is usually caused by falling on an outstretched hand; 
  • Tear of the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) of the wrist;  
  • Rotator cuff or labrum tear of the shoulder; 
  • ACL or meniscus tear of the knee; 
  • Herniated or bulging discs in the neck and back; 
  • Fracture of the elbow;
  • Nerve entrapment or radiculopathy; 
  • Lacerations requiring stitches; 
  • Traumatic brain injuries; and 
  • Sprains or strains; 

Injuries tend to be more serious the older you get. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million older adults need treatment for injuries sustained in a fall across the country each year. At least 300,000 of those people require transport to the hospital for a hip fracture.



What Should I Do After My NYC Sidewalk Accident Injury?

Proving a trip or slip and fall injury is challenging, whether it is the result of a raised and uneven sidewalk or a slippery ice condition. Because of this it is  imperative to document your accident and injuries as thoroughly as possible.  Follow these important steps to help preserve your rights.  

And of course, your best interests would be served by immediately bringing your case to our skilled attorneys. We will help put your case in a position to succeed.  

Waiting to seek legal advice can result in losing out on your right to pursue a claim, especially if the City of New York is responsible. You have only 90 days from the injury date to file a Notice of Claim, and any uneven sidewalk lawsuit must be filed within a year and 90 days of the occurrence. This deadline is a much shorter statute of limitations compared to private property owner lawsuits that fall under the three-year deadline for premises liability claims.

Waiting to seek legal advice can result in losing out on your right to pursue a claim, especially if the City of New York is responsible. Call us at (718) 808-8800 today.

What Are Examples of Sidewalk Injury Settlements You've Achieved?

Understandably, potential clients want to know more about our experience level and case history. We’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including sidewalk accident injuries. Examples of uneven sidewalk lawsuits we’ve handled include:


For client who slipped and fell on a poorly shoveled sidewalk resulting in leg injuries requiring surgery. The plaintiff walked along a sidewalk in front of a commercial building that had been mostly abandoned by the owner except for a small group of workers who maintained an office for the purposes of winding down the business.  The defendant’s witness testified that it had no knowledge of the condition of the sidewalk on the date of the accident, or the days leading up to the accident, and was unable to refute the plaintiff’s testimony that the sidewalk contained a dangerous ice condition. Expert meteorological evidence revealed a classic freeze-thaw-freeze weather pattern which caused the hazardous condition which led to the accident.


For client who suffered knee injuries requiring surgery after tripping and falling over broken pavement near a utility cover. The defendant was required under the law to maintain the twelve inches surrounding the utility cover in good repair.  Despite this rule, defendant failed to do so and the plaintiff’s foot became stuck in cracked pavement, causing a fall and significant knee injury.  The case settled at trial.


For client who suffered injuries to shoulder, wrist and back due to slipping and falling on an ice-covered sidewalk. The defendant, a commercial property owner, failed to clear the small stretch of sidewalk in front of the premises.  The constant trampling of the snow led to a packed-snow condition which froze during multiple sub-freezing days, leaving the sidewalk with a packed ice condition. The owner had more than enough time that it should have and could have cleared the dangerous ice before the accident.


For client who suffered a knee injury requiring two surgeries as a result of falling down broken stairs. The plaintiff was walking down a “step-street” in the Bronx and tripped on a cracked step, causing her to fall down and sustain serious injuries. Rigorous discovery revealed that the defendant undertook a massive inspection project years before the accident, to ascertain the condition of the step-streets so that they could be categorized in priority order for repair.  After reviewing thousands of pages of material including contracts, schematics, diagrams and inspection reports, the specific step involved was identified as having been designated for repair at a future date.  Unfortunately for the plaintiff, the defendant never made the repair despite having notice of the defective condition.


For client who suffered neck, back and shoulder injuries requiring surgeries following a slip and fall accident. The defendant was seen taking garbage out of a deli and leaving a streak of slimy liquid on the floor over which the bags were dragged. Shortly after this occurred, the plaintiff entered the store.  After making a purchase, the plaintiff went to speak with an acquaintance.  As the plaintiff walked toward the acquaintance, she slipped on the unsafe slippery substance and landed on her back. The matter settled at trial just as the independent eye-witness was to take the stand.

See our case results page to read about more settlements and trial verdicts from our injury clients.

How Do I Know Whether I Need a Lawyer?

If you suffered injuries due to an uneven sidewalk, you should always speak with an attorney before deciding how to proceed. At Ferrante & Koenig, you will never pay for an initial consultation. You have nothing to lose by meeting with us to learn how we can help.

Contact Ferrante & Koenig today to schedule a consultation. Let us review your case and advise you on the best course of action. Trust in our knowledge and personal injury experience to help you seek the justice you deserve.

There is no cost to speak to us about your case. We’re here to help.