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Sidewalk Falls & Accident Lawyer

dangerous crack in New York sidewalkLong Island slip and fall attorneys representing injury victims in Nassau County, Suffolk County, and all 5 boroughs of New York City.

If you have recently had the misfortune of experiencing a sidewalk fall in NYC or Nassau or Suffolk County, you may be seeking a personal injury lawyer Long Island has long trusted to advocate for the rights of victims. Sidewalk fall cases can be surprisingly complex, largely because of recent changes to the law shifting responsibility for dangerous defects on public walkways. Fortunately, a slip, trip and fall lawyer at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye stands prepared to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident, navigate the process of filing a claim and fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve.

We will not rest until we have explored all possible avenues for recovery, as we have done dating back to our firm’s inception in 1952.

Common causes of sidewalk accidents and injuries

The types of injuries resulting from sidewalk falls are numerous, as are the kinds of conditions that can lead to such events.

Common injuries resulting from sidewalk accidents include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Death

When contemplating the sorts of hazards that can produce serious harm, many people immediately think of icy walkways or irregularly raised portions of public pathways that cause folks to trip.

Other frequent dangers posed by improperly maintained or defective sidewalks include things such as:

  • Loosened paver bricks
  • Large cracks in sidewalks
  • Metal grating that can catch shoe heels and cause falls
  • Uneven pits and wells around trees and other landscaping
  • Metal doors set into sidewalks that are not lying flat

These are just a few of the kinds of sidewalk accidents NY residents fear most, and each type is capable of causing serious, long-lasting injuries. The Long Island slip and fall attorneys of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye possess decades of experience aggressively asserting the rights of pedestrians throughout New York who have fallen victim to poorly maintained public walkways.

Our team of lawyers, case investigators, medical experts and economic loss analysts will work in a collaborative fashion to build the strongest possible case on behalf of each client we serve.

Liability for Long Island sidewalk fall injuries

Each township in Nassau & Suffolk counties distributes responsibility for dangerous sidewalk conditions differently. For example, in 2006 the town of Huntington shifted responsibility for maintaining the safety of sidewalks from the town to property owners. In the town of Southampton, by contrast, the town is responsible for all sidewalk repairs, and therefore may be liable for injuries sustained due to improper maintenance.

In these Long Island towns, liability for sidewalk disrepair is held by the property owner:

  • Babylon
  • Huntington
  • Hempstead
  • Islip
  • Oyster Bay

The town itself is liable for dangerous sidewalk conditions in:

  • Brookhaven
  • East Hampton
  • North Hempstead
  • Riverhead
  • Smithtown
  • Southampton
  • Southold

Liability for sidewalk falls in NYC

The history of who bears legal responsibility for sidewalk defects leading to injury in New York City is a complex one that has recently taken yet another important turn. In the past, the city itself was liable to members of the public whenever an injury was caused by a sidewalk defect. Starting in 1974, injury victims were required to prove that the Department of Transportation had received prior written notice of the precise defect allegedly responsible for the harm done. This was a very high hurdle for lawyers to meet, and it was thought by many that it allowed the city to postpone proper sidewalk maintenance and repair with few repercussions.

In response to that change in policy, the Big Apple Pothole Protective Committee was formed to create surveys of every crosswalk and sidewalk in the city, thus attempting to provide the city with the required prior written notice of defects. Maps were made each year, documenting many thousands of defects.

However, in 2003, changes were made to the New York City Administrative Code which relieved the city from having primary responsibility for defects in sidewalks in a large number of situations. The only two exceptions are cases in which the City is the land owner of the property in question and cases in which the structure abutting the alleged defect is a 1-3 family residential home that is at least in part, occupied by the owner.

The 2003 changes halted the production of the Big Apple maps, because abutting owners no longer had to be given written notice of defects. Only constructive notice would be required, meaning that it would have to be shown that the defect or problem existed for a long enough period of time for a reasonable owner to have been aware of it.

New York City does retain primary responsibility for potholes existing in crosswalks and roadways, and written notice is still required to be provided to the Department of Transportation of such issues. Written complaints and warnings about hazards are often provided to the city by community boards, neighborhood groups, and notice also comes in the form of legal filings made by prior injury victims. Log books are maintained by the city of all notices of claim received and they make for a useful resource for attorneys working to assist subsequent victims.

At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, we are committed to exhausting every avenue when it comes to researching your claim, and we know how to meet the often rigid requirements for filing claims in sidewalk cases.

Important notice requirements when suing NYC

Filing a valid claim against the City of New York in a sidewalk case requires plaintiffs to jump through a series of procedural hoops. Aside from being able to show proof of the necessary prior written notice, it is necessary to file a Notice of Claim that must contain a number of key elements.

This document has to be filed with the city’s Law Department within 90 days of the injury event. Once submitted, the city can compel a claimant to undergo a medical examination and submit to a statement under oath. After these steps have been completed, a plaintiff will be able to file a formal complaint and commence a lawsuit, though they must do so within one year plus 90 days of the event that caused the harm.

Lawsuits proceeding against non-municipal defendants such as abutting residential property owners must be initiated within three years of the accident.

Compensation available for victims of sidewalk accidents

Though the process of filing a successful personal injury lawsuit in a sidewalk accident case can often be arduous, the compensation available to victims of serious injuries in such incidents can be substantial.

Plaintiffs in sidewalk accident lawsuits may be able to recover payments for:

  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Home accessibility modifications
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

While every case is different, and it is impossible to predict legal outcomes with any degree of certainty, recent verdicts in New York sidewalk fall cases do offer victims real cause for hope.

Some notable NY verdicts and settlements in sidewalk fall cases include:

  • A $2,253,714 jury award in the case of a fall caused by an uneven sidewalk
  • A $750k settlement for injuries resulting from a hole in a public sidewalk
  • A $2,750,000 settlement for harm caused by an uneven sidewalk at a Bronx shopping center

Long Island sidewalk slip and fall lawyers who make a difference

At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, we understand the trauma and disruption a serious sidewalk slip and fall accident can have on the lives of victims and their entire families. That is why we have dedicated our practice to fighting for the rights of injured Long Islanders, and consider it our mission and privilege to seek maximum financial recovery for our clients.

To receive a complimentary case evaluation and initial consultation, contact us at 1-800-469-7429. We are ready to help you begin your process of healing by working to secure the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled. We serve Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx and beyond.

  1. The New York Times, YOUR HOME; Sidewalk Liability Hits Home, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/05/realestate/your-home-sidewalk-liability-hits-home.html
  2. The New York Times, Ruling Deals a Setback to Sidewalk Injury Lawsuits in New York, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/nyregion/04pothole.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0