Many people are injured due to sidewalk defects. A person who is injured on a sidewalk must contact an attorney immediately because if a municipality is involved then a Notice of Claim must be filed within a certain period of time.

The lawyers at POPICK & RUTMAN are very experienced with sidewalk cases, having handled several hundred of these cases over the past 30 years, and can help you resolve your case.

Common examples of sidewalk defects are:

  • misleveled flags
  • depressions
  • holes
  • cracked and broken sidewalk flags
  • cut poles
  • utility boxes protruding from the sidewalk.


I want to thank Rick Rutman and the law firm for continuing to help me years after my case was settled. I was an infant when my case was resolved. My infant's compromised check was inappropriately cashed. Years later, Mr Rutman helped me discover what happened to the check and fight with the bank that wrongfully cashed the check. The bank refused to reimburse me for improperly cashing the check. He wrote letters to the bank, called them and then made a complaint to the federal agency in charge of overseeing the bank. The bank finally gave up and issued me the check. Mr. Rutman did not charge me anything at all for this extra work he performed. He did it because it was the right thing to do.
Marcel B.
I highly recommend Rick Rutman and Popick & Rutman. I was referred to the law firm by a family friend. I was hurt in a demolition accident. The building I was working on collapsed. The law firm helped me every step of the way including finding the right medical specialists, the workers compensation attorneys and litigating the case. The case settled for 7 figures. Rick Rutman explained every step of the procedure with me, kept me informed of what was going on and obtained a great resolution without having to go to trial.
I was very  satisfied with the way Mr. Rutman represented me and my case.  From the start, he was very accommodating and drove to New Jersey to meet me.  He helped me find medical providers, he helped me obtain lost wages and he even helped me obtain a loan through a funding company.  On the other side, the defendant did everything they could to delay the case.  But Mr. Rutman stayed focused on my case. I found Mr. Rutman to be patient and seasoned. I was worried that the insurance company big wigs had more resources than we did but Mr. Rutman was a silent killer. I was truly impressed. I also appreciated the fact that Mr. Rutman broke down attorney jargon for me in layman's terms.  The case went to mediation and all the other passengers who made a claim settled at the mediation.  But Mr. Rutman told me that my offer was not enough and we did not settle.  Mr. Rutman traveled to California to do a videotaped deposition of my treating doctor to prepare for trial. The case was eventually resolved after jury selection for an amount more than double of what was offered at the mediation. Mr. Rutman and the law firm made me feel at ease and that my family & I could trust them.  The law office team was personable and always easy to reach.  I highly recommend Popick & Rutman.
-Thalia E.  (a client who sustained multiple fractures and other injuries while a passenger on a bus)
I was a construction worker hurt on the job while building the Second Avenue Subway. Initially, another attorney told me that I only had a workers compensation case and rejected my personal injury case. I was referred to Mr. Rutman by a friend whose case Mr. Rutman settled several years ago. Mr. Rutman settled my case for an amount I am extremely satisfied with, even though I came to him after the time to file a notice of claim had passed. He also got the workers compensation lien waived as part of the settlement. I would definitely recommend them to family and friends.
Luciano F.
I tripped and fell on the sidewalk and hurt my knee. They came to my house and Mr. Rutman took the time to answer all of my questions. In the beginning, I felt a lot of frustrations with the lawsuit process because I didn't know what to expect. but then they explained it to me step by step. I felt comfortable knowing that they were on my side looking out for me. The office staff was easy to deal with. They were very friendly, helpful and pleasant. They kept me informed of what was going on. The translators on their staff were good as well. They settled my case and I am very happy with the resolution. I would highly recommend them.
I slipped and fell in a supermarket while making a delivery. I did not report the accident to the manager, there was no accident report and I did not go to the emergency room. Initially, the insurance company for the supermarket did not want to pay for anything, claiming that there was no proof the accident happened, but Rick Rutman got the insurance company to pay six figures and got my workers compensation lien reduced. Everyone in the office was very helpful and friendly. I would definitely recommend Popick & Rutman to anyone who needs a good lawyer.
Shun Y

Sidewalk cases are similar to snow and ice cases. In the City of New York the responsibility for the maintenance for the sidewalks belongs to either the adjoining home owner or the City of New York. Liability for a sidewalk may also belong to the party that makes special use of the sidewalk.

New York City Administrative Code 7-210 imposes the maintenance for a New York City sidewalk upon the adjoining landowner if the premises are a one, two or three family exclusively residential owner occupied home. In other words, if a building is a one, two or three family building and the owner lives there and there are no commercial tenants such as a deli or laundromat on the ground floor, then the City of New York will be legally liable for any injuries due to a defective sidewalk.

On the other hand, if a person trips and falls on a misleveled sidewalk in front of a three family building but the ground floor has a commercial tenant, then the owner of the building is liable for the sidewalk. If it is a one, two or three family building in which the owner rents out all the apartments then the owner of the building is responsible for the sidewalk and liable for any injuries.

People trip and fall due to defects on driveways that extend over sidewalks. A driveway is considered a special use of the sidewalk and a defect on the driveway resulting from the use of the driveway for its intended purpose will create liability on the owner of the driveway.

Furthermore, there are different rules for when a party causes or creates a dangerous condition or makes a dangerous condition worse. Therefore, a homeowner who ordinarily may not have legal liability for injuries that happened on his sidewalk may become liable if he performed work and created a dangerous condition.

Have you noticed the square metal boxes embedded in the sidewalks of New York? They exist for many purposes. Some are water cut offs to be used by the Fire Department, some are gas lines owned by Con Edison or some other utility, some are oil caps, covering lines that lead into a buildings oil tanks. Sometimes you cannot tell what the cap is for because the markings are worn off. There are New York City codes which require the caps to be color-coded. For example, gas caps are supposed to be yellow.

Sometimes the homeowner is responsible for injuries, sometimes it is the utility company and sometimes it is the municipality. If you are injured on a sidewalk due to a one of the metal caps or squares you must contact an experienced law firm, like POPICK & RUTMAN, for guidance on your specific matter.

If you have been injured on a sidewalk just call (718) 321-7460 today to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys about your claim. Consultations are free and there is no obligation.