If you’ve ever walked down a sidewalk in New York, then you know that some sidewalks are better than others. Some are smooth and easy to traverse, while others may be broken or cracked – making them a lot harder to walk across.
When you encounter a broken or cracked New York sidewalk and suffer an injury as a result, who is responsible for your injuries? That’s a good question, and the answer is one that every person should know in case they fall victim to a sidewalk that has been left in disrepair.
Read on to find out who is liable for a fall on a cracked or broken New York sidewalk and what you can do to pursue damages.
Common Sidewalk Injuries
Some of the injuries sustained in a sidewalk accident in New York can be quite significant and caused by conditions such as:
- Cracks in the sidewalk
- Raised or uneven pavement
- Grating on the sidewalk that can catch your cane or the heel of your shoe
- Broken pavement
- Loose bricks
- Metal doors on the sidewalk that are higher or lower than the rest of the sidewalk
Some of the most common injuries sustained from these conditions include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Ankle injuries
- Neck injuries
- Facial injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Some of the injuries mentioned above can lead to permanent injuries or impairments that can significantly impact your life. They may leave you unable to work or require medical care for months or years, leading to substantial medical debt.
Who Is Responsible?
When a sidewalk is left in disrepair and leads directly to your injury, then someone is responsible. In New York, property owners are required under law to maintain their sidewalks in a condition that is safe. In places where the sidewalk is owned by the city, then they are responsible for any damages you incur.
That means that the owner of an apartment complex, home, church, government office, or commercial property has a legal obligation to ensure their sidewalks are maintained, so they don’t lead to injuries. In most cases, the causes of sidewalk accidents include:
- Lack of general maintenance of the sidewalk
- Improper design
- Repeated freezing and thawing of ice and snow
- Negligent installation
- Missing or defective curbs
These types of conditions can lead to cracks, holes, buckling, and elevated hardware cited as the cause of sidewalk accidents.
How and where your sidewalk accident occurred will inform who is liable for your damages.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
In most instances, a person can recover damages that are both economic and non-economic in nature. Damages that have been awarded in sidewalk accident cases include:
- Costs of medical treatment and care
- Cost of rehabilitation and personal care
- Lost income
- Reduction in future earning capacity
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain caused by the accident
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Any enduring impairments, disfigurements, or disabilities for the victim
Filing a claim for a sidewalk accident falls under premises liability laws. In New York, you have three years to file a claim from the date of the accident. This deadline is for both commercial and private property owners, so it’s best to bring an experienced attorney on your case as soon as the accident occurs – to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.