Sidewalk trip and fall accidents are, unfortunately, common in cities the size of New York. Any one of a number of factors can make a sidewalk dangerous:

  • Substandard construction
  • Uneven or cracked surface
  • Obstructions such as trash or debris
  • Potholes

Trips and falls on New York sidewalks can result in serious injuries such as broken bones, brain trauma, spinal cord injury, and even death. You could end up permanently impaired, changing your life forever.

What to do after a fall

If you trip and fall on a dangerous sidewalk, then you can bring a lawsuit against the parties responsible for its poor state, provided the following is proven:

  • The parties knew, or should have known, about the danger it presented
  • The sidewalk was a substantial factor in causing you to be hurt

If you are able, take photos of the scene immediately after falling. (If you can’t, then ask someone else to do so.) Document the hazard that caused you to trip, as well as any adjacent buildings, so it can be determined more easily who the property owner is.

You must also seek medical treatment, even if you’re not convinced that you were hurt too badly. Some injuries are not immediately obvious, and a complete medical examination could reveal a broken bone or dislocation that you may be in too much shock to feel. The attending physician will treat you and, if necessary, can testify later as to your condition after the fall.

Depending on the circumstances and the extent of your injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost income, and even non-economic damages such as mental anguish and pain and suffering. But before you can even file a claim, it is important to determine exactly who is at fault for your mishap.

Who is responsible?

The New York City Administrative Code states that it is primarily the responsibility of the property owner to keep their sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. The sole exception is a sidewalk that abuts a residential home occupied by the owner, in which case the City of New York is responsible. However, the latter condition calls for an additional requirement if you want to sue for damages: you must prove that the City of New York had previously been informed in writing that the sidewalk was defective.

When you trip and fall on a sidewalk, call a New York personal injury attorney immediately. Experienced legal advice is critical, especially if you intend to file a lawsuit against a government agency. Such proceedings are complicated and challenging, but an attorney with a history of trip and fall cases will use their expertise and insights to work for the compensation you need to move forward. Jayson Lutzky is a personal injury lawyer with a conveniently-located Bronx, NY office. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a free in-person consultation and visit to learn more about accident laws.