Premises Liability: Sidewalk SafetyFalls on New York City sidewalks are a common trip and fall injury. Falling on a sidewalk can sometimes cause serious and permanent injuries. That’s why sidewalk falls are one of the most common bases for negligence lawsuits.

Common Examples of Unsafe Sidewalks

Sidewalks can be dangerously unsafe due to negligence and a failure to properly maintain and repair the sidewalk. Unsafe sidewalk conditions can include:

  • Cracked or broken sidewalks
  • Icy, wet, or slippery sidewalks
  • Exposed tree roots
  • Uneven sidewalk slabs
  • Debris left on the sidewalk
  • Sinking sidewalks

If you’ve been injured in a fall on a sidewalk, it is important, if possible, to take photographs of any defects that caused your fall. You should also seek medical treatment even if you’re not sure whether you’re seriously injured.

Who is Responsible for Keeping the Sidewalk Safe?

Under New York City Administrative Code section 7-210 certain property owners are responsible for the safety of the sidewalk outside their premises and must keep the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. A property owner’s duties include removing snow and ice, maintaining the sidewalk, fixing any broken, uneven or cracked pavement, and keeping the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.
This liability does not apply to 1, 2, or 3-family properties where the property is occupied by the owner and is used for residential purposes. New York City is also responsible for crosswalks, including maintaining the crosswalks and removing hazards. In those cases, the City can be held liable if it was given prior written notice of defects in the sidewalk and failed to take action.

Preventing Sidewalk Slip and Falls

While not all slip and falls on sidewalks can be prevented, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself:

  • Pay attention—texting while walking can sometimes be as dangerous as texting and driving. Make sure you watch where you’re walking and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk slowly on icy or snowy surfaces—you get better traction on wet surfaces if you move slowly
  • Wear proper footwear—shoes that don’t fit correctly can make you more likely to fall
  • Don’t carry objects that obstruct your view—walking on a sidewalk while effectively blind can be dangerous.

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall on a sidewalk, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits available. Se habla espaňol.