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Who is liable if I fall on a sidewalk?

Slip and fall injuries can result in broken bones, fractures and even permanent spinal cord injuries. Most New York sidewalks are considered public property and are maintained by the government. However, sidewalks that are within a business’s boundaries are to be maintained by the property owner. This can create some confusion when it comes to figuring out who is liable for your slip-and-fall injury.

When is the government held liable?

The government is responsible for maintaining safe sidewalks around public areas. These include parks, public buildings and even playgrounds. When a slip-and-fall injury occurs due to hazardous conditions on a sidewalk in one of these locations, the government can be held financially liable for the injury. It’s their legal duty to ensure that the sidewalks in these areas are free from hazards. In locations where a hazard cannot be fixed quickly, it’s the government’s responsibility to post signs and cordon off the area.

When are property owner’s held liable?

Apart from public locations, sidewalks can run through residential and commercial properties. In this event, the property owner or entity owes users a duty of care to ensure that the sidewalk is free from any hazardous conditions. Just like the government, they must cordon off any area that has a hazard that cannot be swiftly fixed. If a slip-and-fall injury happens due to hazardous conditions of the sidewalk, it’s the property owner or entity who is responsible for the damages.

Slipping and falling on a sidewalk is not an experience any one of us wants to have. Unfortunately, these instances do happen and they can result in some moderate to severe medical conditions. It’s a good idea to understand who will be held liable for a slip and fall injury depending on its location so that you’ll know who to seek compensation from.