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liable slip fall

You would think that walking – which is one of the most basic forms of transportation in New York – would be safe. And yet, dozens of people are forced to visit the emergency room in NYC due to sustaining slip and fall injuries. During the winter season, property owners and managers need to be especially careful and ensure their walkways and sidewalks are in good condition. Accumulation of snow and ice is the number one cause of slip-and-fall injuries on sidewalks during winter.

As always, what “should be done” and what really happens are two very different things. If you or your loved one slipped and fell on a property due to the poor condition of the said property, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner.

The New York state laws require all property owners to maintain their property as stipulated by the Premises Liability Law. This law is in place to prevent accidents caused by damaged or cracked parking lot surfaces or sidewalks. If a walkway is damaged or slippery due to the weather, it can cause a slip and fall accident resulting in:

  • Bruises, cuts, or lacerations
  • Strained muscles or severe sprains
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Concussion or traumatic brain injury
  • Wrongful death

No matter how careful you are while walking on a sidewalk, if there is a pothole in there that’s been covered up with freshly-accumulated snow, you may suffer a fall. This is just an example; there are several hazards that are simply unavoidable regardless of how vigilant the pedestrians might be. 

What Causes Sidewalk Falls in New York?

When a sidewalk is unmaintained, it poses a serious threat not only to the neighborhood residents but any passing pedestrians as well. And as if that’s not enough, people who suffer serious injuries after slipping and falling on a sidewalk face major economic hardships. They are forced to miss work for an extended period (if not permanently), and spend potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical bills not covered by insurance. 

So, if you or someone you know has suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in New York, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney, and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The rest of your life may depend on it.

As for the common causes of sidewalk fall accidents, it could be any number of things, such as:

  • Broken sidewalks
  • Raised or uneven sidewalk flags
  • Objects or debris left on the sidewalk
  • Dangerously sloped sidewalks
  • Holes or cracks in sidewalks
  • The roots of trees, which can make the sidewalk surface uneven or cracked
  • Ice or snow of sidewalks
  • Improper “special use” of a sidewalk (for example, planting trees on a portion of the sidewalk to beautify it)

Whatever might be the cause, “negligence” is always at the root of it. All of these causes can occur on a sidewalk whether it’s private or public.

If the public sidewalk is owned by the New York City, you may hold the City accountable for your accident. However, it’s not always that simple because the NY law places obligations and duties on the property owner who owns the premises adjacent to the sidewalk where the defect existed.

Rules Regarding Safe Sidewalks in New York

Whether you are in Brooklyn or Bronx, the entire New York City is governed by the same Section 7-210 of the Administrative Code. As per this section, the following buildings or premises must maintain safe sidewalks at all times:

  • Multifamily residential properties
  • Businesses
  • Religious places like churches, temples, synagogues, etc.
  • Other types of premises

This section also specifies that all property owners must practice the following duties:

  • Fix cracked, uneven, or broken pavement
  • Remove the ice and snow regularly
  • Fix the raised sewers or grating
  • Do regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure there are no fall hazards for pedestrians

This section doesn’t apply to residential properties that are occupied by the owner, and not used for business or rental purposes. If your accident occurred on an owner-occupied property, you can’t sue the owner but you may be able to sue the City if the city officials had received a complaint about the defect in the sidewalk. 

What Should I Do If I Was Injured While One Someone Else’s Property?

So, you slipped or tripped and fell while on another person’s premises in New York. The first and foremost thing you need to do is to seek medical attention. We also recommend documenting your accident:

  • Take pictures with your cell phone, especially if there is ice or snow present on your accident site.
  • Note the time and exact location of the accident.
  • Note information about the property owner, including their insurance (if possible)
  • If any witnesses were present during your accident, get their contact information.

Also, don’t forget to call the police. Then get the number of the police accident report, as well as the name and contact information of the police officer who filed your report.

Your next step should be to contact a personal injury attorney who is experienced in premises liability laws of New York. Your attorney can make sure you are compensated for any lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering you had to endure due to the accident. 

Another reason to contact a NYC slip and fall accident attorney is the tight time limit in case the City is responsible for the damaged sidewalk. If it turns out that your accident was caused on a sidewalk owned and maintained by the City of New York, you have 90 days (from the date of the accident) to send them a notice. A “Notice of Claim” will need to be filed with the City.

This notice must be filed by or on behalf of the individual (fall accident victim) bringing the claim. If you fail to file this notice in a timely manner or you make a mistake, can completely destroy your chances of suing the City and receiving any compensation for your injuries.

Why Hiring a NYC Slip and Fall Attorney is Crucial After the Accident

liable slip fall2

Here is the unfortunate truth: just because you suffered a fall due to a neglected sidewalk doesn’t guarantee you will be successful in bringing a lawsuit against the responsible parties. According to the New York laws, the accident victim must be able to prove that the person/organization responsible for the sidewalk should have known or already knew about the hazards posed by the particular sidewalk. 

You will also need to prove that the dangerous sidewalk was the main factor that caused your injury. 

And be prepared for the sidewalk owner to point the finger right back at you. They will do their best to prove that you – the injured victim – were responsible for the fall because you “weren’t watching where you were going.” 

If your fall accident was a result of ice or snow accumulation on the sidewalk, you will need to prove that the property owner:

  • Knew about the ice/snow accumulation
  • Failed to clear it within a reasonable amount of time

Unless you have an expert NYC personal injury attorney on your side, it would be nearly impossible to prove all of this on your own. In cases like these, the amount of investigation alone that is required to prove the responsible party’s liability is huge. You will need to be ready to handle the insane paperwork and other hurdles thrown in your way by the opposite party’s legal team. 

To increase your chances of recuperating compensation for your injury and financial losses, it is critical that you hire a skilled attorney who knows Premises Liability and Personal Injury Laws of New York like the back of their hand.

If your accident occurred on a City-owned sidewalk, you only have 90 days from the date of your accident to bring the lawsuit. Time is of the essence in sidewalk accident cases in New York.

Contact a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Attorney in New York

Due to the complexity of these cases, it is best that you seek the counsel of a skilled slip and fall attorney after suffering an injury on private or public property in NYC.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we thoroughly investigate our client’s claims by identifying all parties involved, reviewing medical records, and interviewing witnesses (if any). We also take pictures of the site of the accident to reconstruct exactly what happened.

From filing the lawsuit to handling trial and mediation, we handle all aspects of the lawsuit in a way that guarantees maximum compensation for our clients. These are not empty claims – we have won over $1 billion in settlements and claims for our clients up until now. 

Our incredible attorneys have been defending the rights of slip and fall victims in New York since 1922. So, when we say that we understand all the complexities of personal injury cases, we truly mean it. Our legal team is recognized as the best when it comes to NYC slip and fall accident trial lawyers.

We offer free, no-obligation legal consultation! If you have suffered a fall on a sidewalk, give us a call at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online, and we will thoroughly review your case.


122 E. 42nd Street Suite 3800
New York, NY 10168

Tel: (800) 660-2264



8900 Sutphin Blvd Suite 501
Queens, NY 11435

Tel: (718) 399-3100

*By Appointment Only



220-226 E 161st Street
The Bronx, NY 10451

Tel: (212) 344-1000

*By Appointment Only