Every day, millions of pedestrians walk miles on New York city sidewalks. Unfortunately, New York City is notorious for its uneven sidewalks. Tree roots, sinking sidewalks, and winter weather may cause uneven sidewalks in New York City. Uneven sidewalks are dangerous because they can lead to fall accidents that cause more than an embarrassing stumble. An uneven sidewalk can cause pedestrians serious, life-changing injuries.
New York City sidewalk owners have a legal duty to keep their sidewalks reasonably safe. If you've experienced an injury after tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk in New York City, you may be entitled to compensation. Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other damages related to their injury. Contact personal injury lawyer Michael J. Redenburg today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Examples of Dangerous Uneven Sidewalk Conditions
Becoming injured on an uneven sidewalk isn't always enough to succeed in a premises liability lawsuit. You will also need to provide evidence that the owner's failure to fix or stop a dangerous condition on the sidewalk directly caused your injuries. There are numerous examples of unsafe sidewalk conditions that cause serious injuries, such as:
- Damage from tree roots
- Cracked or broken sidewalk slabs
- Loose or missing sidewalk slabs
- One sidewalk slab that is half an inch lower or higher than an adjoining slab
- The sidewalk is sloped and retains water or snow
- The sidewalk contains a hole that is over an inch in diameter and half an inch deep
- Debris, such as dirt or gravel, is located on the sidewalk
- The property owner engaged in repairs using unapproved materials, such as asphalt
All of these instances are examples of dangerous sidewalk conditions outlined in the New York City administrative code. When a property owner fails to fix these dangerous conditions, they are liable for any injuries that occur on the sidewalk abutting their property.
New York's Department of Transportation issues notices of violation (NOV) when a sidewalk is unsafe enough to warrant a code violation. However, property owners can still be held liable through a personal injury lawsuit even if they never received a notice of their defective sidewalk from the Department of Transportation.
Injuries Caused by Falls on Cracked or Uneven Sidewalk
New Yorkers are more likely to fall, trip, and suffer injuries on sidewalks that are uneven or cracked. Uneven sidewalks are even more hazardous for children and elderly adults who may struggle with walking. Elderly New Yorkers are more likely to suffer life-changing hip fractures when they fall on uneven or cracked pavement. Bicyclists are also at risk for suffering injuries on uneven sidewalks. A crack in the pavement can cause a bicyclist to be thrown from his or her bicycle. In addition to hip fractures, the following types of injuries are common when New Yorkers fall on uneven pavement:
- Bruises and bumps
- Bone fractures
- Sprained ankles and wrists
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries including concussions
- Scrapes and lacerations
- Pulled muscles
New York Premises Liability Laws
In New York, victims who become injured on someone else's property have a right to file a premises liability lawsuit for damages. Property owners have a legal duty to keep their property reasonably safe. This duty extends to the owners of New York City sidewalks. When a property owner fails to keep his or her sidewalks reasonably safe, any person who becomes injured after falling on the sidewalk can hold the property owner responsible. A plaintiff in premises liability lawsuits must prove the following:
- The plaintiff became injured on a sidewalk owned by the defendant
- The property owner acted negligently
- The property owner's negligence caused the plaintiff's injuries
- The plaintiff suffered some type of bodily injury
New York City itself owns some sidewalks. If you become injured on an unsafe city-owned sidewalk, you could file a claim against the city. Importantly, you must file the claim within 90 days of your accident, or you will lose your right to seek compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to investigate the sidewalk on which you fell and help you determine the best way to recover compensation for your injuries.
Seeking Compensation Through an Insurance Policy
Under New York City regulations, the owner of the property abutting the sidewalk is the person responsible for keeping the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Most businesses and homeowners carry insurance policies for their homes and businesses. Often, a homeowner or property owner's insurance policy will cover personal injuries caused by sidewalk accidents
If you suffered an injury due to an unsafe sidewalk abutting someone's home, you could file a claim against the property owner's homeowners insurance policy. Similarly, if you suffered an injury on a sidewalk abutting a business, you can file a claim through their general business liability insurance policy.
Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims whenever possible, and they will attempt to deny your claim or offer you a settlement that is far too low to cover your expenses. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to negotiate with the insurance company for your benefit effectively.
The property owners may not have an insurance policy that covers injuries caused by sidewalk falls, or the insurance policy could be insufficient to cover all of the costs of your injuries. Your best option is typically filing a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner in civil court in these situations.
Contact an Uneven Sidewalk Injury Lawyer in New York City
Attorney Michael J. Redenburg has a well-earned reputation for successfully obtaining compensation on behalf of personal injury clients. His legal team has the necessary experience and skills to hold negligent property owners accountable. Recovering compensation for your injuries could help you and your family pay medical bills and secure your future. If you or your loved one have become injured after tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk, he can help. Contact him today to schedule your free case evaluation.