Can I sue the city for an unsafe sidewalk?

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cracked sidewalk

Sidewalks are integral to transportation, providing pedestrians a path to navigate the roadways safely. As they play a vital role in ensuring the safety of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, property owners must ensure that the sidewalks adjacent to their premises are well-maintained to prevent devastating accidents and injuries. Failing to do so means they can be held liable for any damages due to their negligence. Injured parties often wonder whether they can take legal action against a municipality for damages from unsafe sidewalks. Please continue reading to learn whether a municipality can be held accountable for defective sidewalks and how a determined New York City Sidewalk Accident Lawyer can help you today.

What constitutes an unsafe sidewalk?

Property owners and municipalities in New York must regularly monitor sidewalks adjacent to their premises to ensure people who encounter them will not face slip and fall hazards. If they fail to uphold their legal duty in ensuring their sidewalks are well-maintained for those who pass by, they can be held liable for any damages resulting from their negligence. However, you will have to prove that the municipality knew or should have reasonably known about the unsafe conditions and failed to do anything to remedy them, resulting in your injuries. The following include but are not limited to some of the most common causes of unsafe sidewalks:

  • Weather-related hazards (uncleared snow or ice)
  • Protruding tree roots
  • Misleveling
  • Potholes
  • Uncleared debris

How long do I have to take legal action for a defective sidewalk?

Generally, the statute of limitations for a premises liability claim is three years from the accident date. However, if you were hurt on property owned by the City, you will have a much shorter time frame to file your claim. Legal action against a government entity requires filing a Notice of Claim, which must be filed no later than 90 days of the accident date. A Notice of Claim provides the municipality of your intent to pursue legal action against them before the commencement of your lawsuit, making them aware they could be subject to damages. Filing your claim within this fixed deadline after the accident is vital, as failure will result in being barred from pursuing legal action. Missing the deadline will automatically forfeit your rights to seek monetary compensation for your damages.

If you’ve been injured on a government-owned property due to an unsafe sidewalk, contact a skilled New York City sidewalk accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Elbaum, who can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Our firm will help you file your claim within the right timeframe. Allow us to represent your interests today.

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