Cracks, broken concrete, and adverse weather conditions can lead to sidewalk slip and fall accidents. Trip and fall mishaps on uneven sidewalks are a special form of premises liability accidents. The rules that govern recovery of damages for premises injuries have special application for purposes of allocating liability for damages to compensate for sidewalk accident injuries.
The sidewalk accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman understand the intricacies of assigning liability to the responsible party when a pedestrian suffers a sidewalk slip and fall accident.
Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk?
Falling on a sidewalk, by itself, is not enough to warrant a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. You will also need some evidence that the party who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk was negligent, and that the negligence was the proximate cause of your slip and fall sidewalk injuries. Further, you will need to show more evidence than just a flaw in the sidewalk. To succeed with an uneven sidewalk lawsuit, you need to verify that the sidewalk’s caretakers knew or reasonably should have known about the flaw and that they did nothing to correct it before you fell and suffered injuries.
You will have a better chance to verify this information in any potential lawsuit if you document the circumstances of your sidewalk slip and fall accident as soon as is possible afterwards. This includes taking photographs of the dangerous sidewalk conditions that caused the fall, recording ambient weather and traffic conditions, and getting contact information from any witnesses who might have seen your fall.
Who is Liable When You Slip and Fall on the Sidewalk?
The answer to this question depends on who owns or controls the sidewalk at the accident location. Sidewalk accident liability laws are different in different states, and accidents that happen in New York will be handled differently from those occur in New Jersey. Different state statutes, for example, might confer immunity on cities for accidents that happen on public sidewalks. Further, the analysis will vary for sidewalks and walkways in front of residential or commercial properties. Your best course of action if you do suffer a slip and fall sidewalk injury is to promptly contact a sidewalk injury lawyer who will review the details of your accident and, if warranted, who will file your complaint to secure your right to recover damages for your injuries.
What Kinds of Sidewalk Hazards Can Form the Basis of a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
The most common unsafe sidewalk conditions include:
- Broken or crumbling concrete;
- Uneven sidewalk surfaces, as, for example, when sidewalks settle unevenly over time, or when a sidewalk transitions from one type of surface to another;
- Snow or ice that accumulates and creates slippery surfaces;
- Debris that blocks walkways and that is left to accumulate over a long period of time;
- Shrubbery and other plant growth that impedes a normal sidewalk route;
- Mud, dirt, and other residue from rain, construction activity, or neglect.
How Much Time Do You Have Before Filing a Lawsuit?
In general, you have three years from the date of your accident and injuries to file a slip and fall negligence lawsuit in New York State, but only two years to do so in New Jersey. The time period to initiate your lawsuit will likely be much shorter, however, if you are suing a municipality for negligent maintenance of a public sidewalk. That deadline may be as short as thirty days. Moreover, negligence lawsuits against cities and towns may be subject to stricter procedural and pleading rules, and the amount of damages that you can recover from a municipality may be capped by state or local statutes. An experienced sidewalk accident lawyer is your best resource to help you understand your rights and procedural obligations when you fall and suffer injuries on a public sidewalk.
What Damages Can You Recover for Your Sidewalk Slip and Fall Injuries?
As with other types of negligence injury cases, your damages in a sidewalk negligence lawsuit might include your actual and anticipated medical costs, lost wages, and compensation for excess pain and suffering. Again, some municipalities have placed caps on the total amount of damages that an injured party can recover. Your ability to recover damages might also be reduced in proportion to your own responsibility for your accident. Your sidewalk accident lawyer can provide a more detailed explanation of the damages you may be entitled to recover in view of the specific facts about your accident.
Contact the KGG Sidewalk Accident Lawyers for an Assessment of Your Case
The NY & NJ slip and fall lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman fight to recover the largest damages awards that may be available for individuals who suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents on poorly maintained sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. We believe that municipalities and commercial and residential property owners have a high level of responsibility for keeping public walkways free and clear of dangerous conditions, and that their failure to do so imposes liability on them for any injuries that a party might suffer as a result of those conditions.
Call us or see our website as soon as you possibly can after you have fallen and suffered injuries on a poorly-maintained sidewalk in Rockland County or Bergen County, or elsewhere in New York or New Jersey. We will review all of the facts about your accident and give you a fair and direct assessment of your opportunity to recover damages from any negligent parties, as well as how much damages you may be entitled to recover.
Additional Sidewalk Fall Injury Resources:
- Justia.com: Qian v. Toll Brothers, Inc. https://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/supreme-court/2015/a-95-13.html
- SFgate.com: Are Sidewalks Considered a Homeowner’s Property? https://homeguides.sfgate.com/sidewalks-considered-homeowners-property-56365.html