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.

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.