Premises Liability Includes Building Sidewalks
Premises liability is when a property owner is liable for someone’s injuries that occurred on the property due to negligence. Typically, this means that there was a dangerous condition on the property and the owner knew or should have known about it, but did not address the unsafe condition. Premises liability applies to the sidewalk outside of buildings. Building owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front of their buildings.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in accident cases, including slip and fall lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about premises liability.
A sidewalk in front of a privately-owned building, such as an apartment building, must be maintained by the owner and not the municipality. For example, if you are walking in front of an apartment building and suffer an injury by tripping on a broken sidewalk, you would take that issue up with the building owner and not the city.
Maintaining a sidewalk is important for public safety, especially in a city like New York, where there are many pedestrians. Building and property owners are responsible for fixing the sidewalk if it buckles or breaks due to age, posing a tripping hazard. When there is snow or ice, the sidewalks should be cleared and salted within a reasonable timeframe.
Proving Negligence and Suing for a Sidewalk Injury
A building or property owner is not liable for an injury simply because it occurred on his or her property. As previously mentioned, a personal injury lawsuit is filed when the owner was negligent and subsequently allowed unsafe conditions. You must show that there were unsafe conditions, and that the owner had notice of the conditions but failed to properly address them.
For example, a large snowstorm passes and several days pass by, but the sidewalk in front of a private apartment building remains un-shoveled. Nobody applied salt to the ground, allowing ice to form on the sidewalk. You walk by the building and slip on ice, breaking your arm. In this case, you may be able to file a personal injury slip and fall lawsuit because there was a dangerous condition (snow and ice). The owner had a reasonable amount of time to address the unsafe condition yet failed to do so, causing your injury.
In a similar scenario, you are walking in front of the building as the snow is still falling. You slip and fall in front of the building, breaking your arm. In this case, you may not have a case because the building owner did not have a reasonable amount of time to address the snow.
In general, if you are injured on someone else’s property and are looking to file a personal injury lawsuit, you should document your claim as best you can. This means taking pictures of your injury and detailing when and where the accident took place. You should also notify the property owner of your injury, if they are unaware.
Seek medical treatment as necessary. Keep in mind that your injury may seem minor at first, but there are also situations where symptoms do not manifest until later (i.e. soft tissue injuries, traumatic brain injury). Seeing a doctor can improve your recovery, and it also helps document your injury.
If you are looking to pursue litigation, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. There is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit.
Compensation from a lawsuit can help cover medical expenses such as hospital bills, and lost wages. Your injury may force you to take time off from work, or you may need to take sick days for doctor’s appointments or procedures. Personal injury plaintiffs can also sue for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life.
Our personal injury attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have about filing a personal injury lawsuit. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee. In other words, you only pay if they win your case. Legal consultations are free.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing victims injured by slip and fall accidents, as well as other accidents. If you or someone you know was injured by someone else’s negligence, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).