Walking to work, the corner store or elsewhere in New York City is simply a way of life for residents of the Big Apple. Most of us walk on the sidewalk and do not give much thought to hazards there until we trip and fall on a sidewalk that is cracked or broken. Who is required to maintain sidewalks in New York City and can we hold them responsible for sidewalk defects?
A property owner’s role in sidewalk maintenance
Under New York City Administrative Code, property owners are required to maintain the sidewalks adjoining their premises. This includes making repairs to cracks or holes in the sidewalk and clearing snow from sidewalks in the winter.
Some common sidewalk defects include:
- Collapsed sidewalks
- Cracked sidewalks presenting trip hazards
- Improper slopes in sidewalks
- Poor patch jobs on sidewalks
- Uneven hardware presenting trip hazards
If a property owner does not maintain their sidewalk appropriately, and a person trips or is otherwise injured on the sidewalk adjacent to the property owner’s premises, the property owner could face liability for the damages suffered on their property.
Premises liability lawsuits
Premises liability lawsuits are generally based on the laws of negligence.
For example, if a property owner does not keep their sidewalks up to code and a pedestrian trips and is injured on a sidewalk adjoining their property, the property owner has failed to meet their duty of care to keep their sidewalks safe for pedestrians. This breach of duty can be the cause of the pedestrian’s injuries. If these injuries resulted in compensable damages, the pedestrian may have grounds for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
When we are walking down the sidewalk, it is all too easy to trip, especially if the sidewalk is in poor condition. Property owners in New York City have a duty to maintain sidewalks adjacent to their premises and if they do not do so, they could be held liable by those injured due to the dangerous conditions on the sidewalk.