Sidewalk accidents happen for a variety of reasons. During the winter months, many people suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents due to improper maintenance of sidewalks, including a failure to remove snow and ice, improper or inadequate shoveling, or a property owner or tenant’s failure to apply salt, sand or other chemical to prevent an accumulation of ice. The winter also causes defects such as raised sidewalks, cracks, missing sections, or other defects which can lead to serious knee, back, arm, ankle or head injuries (if the person is unable to break his or her fall).
Under the laws of the State of New York, in order to be successful in a case against a property owner for injuries suffered in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the injured person must be able to establish either that the owner knew of the dangerous conditions prior to the accident (obviously much more difficult in an accident due to a more transient defect such as ice than an uneven sidewalk which develops over a more substantial period of time), and failed to correct the defect or remove the ice, directly causing the accident. The property owner can also be held responsible for the accident if he or she “created the condition.” An example of this would be an owner who hires a contractor to perform work on the sidewalk, and this work is performed inadequately or with defective materials which make the sidewalk unsafe for pedestrians. In this scenario, both the property owner and the contractor can bear responsibility for the accident.
In cases involving sidewalks or other property owned by municipalities, there are several additional requirements which make these cases more complex, requiring the services of knowledgeable attorneys who are fully familiar with the these complexities and rules of law. For example, in a case of a slip and fall on a sidewalk against a city, town or village, a notice of claim on behalf of the injured person must be filed against the municipality within 90 days of the accident, or the injured person cannot sue. Further, municipalities have to be provided written notification of a condition prior to an accident (which is a virtual impossibility in a slip and fall due to ice), otherwise, the claimant cannot successfully pursue a case against the town, village or city.
At the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel, we have represented clients throughout the State Of New York over the last twenty seven years who have suffered serious injuries in sidewalk accidents. Because of the complexities involved in successfully representing clients who have been injured in accidents due to negligent maintenance of property, particularly the necessity to establish legal “notice” of a defective or dangerous condition, it is vital that you retain experienced, knowledgeable and effective litigators to handle your case. Upon our retention by the client, we conduct an immediate investigation of the location of the accident and secure all available witness statements. We obtain photographs of the defect (if it still exists) to ensure that this evidence is preserved for a jury if the case proceeds to trial. Additionally, and critically, we determine if there were prior accidents of a similar nature which can establish the vital prerequisite of legal notice of a defect against the owner of the premises, such as Freedom of Information requests to the local building department for violations.
In some cases, it is necessary to retain the services of professional engineers, architects or other professionals to inspect the sidewalk to make an assessment as to whether there are violations of the local building codes and other municipal statutes.
We have successfully represented clients throughout the State of New York who suffered injuries in sidewalk accidents due to the negligence of private owners, contractors, subcontractors and municipalities. We quickly and aggressively determine all possible parties that are responsible for our clients’ damages, including pain and suffering, past and future medical and hospital bills, past and future lost earnings, loss of earnings potential, and loss of the ability to perform activities of daily living. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel for a free consultation to discuss your potential case. Contact us anytime at (914) 428-7386 or online.