You can sue if you fall on a sidewalk in Queens and sustain injuries in many cases. However, you have the burden of proving the city or the property owner failed in their duty of care to maintain the sidewalks, and that breach of duty caused your fall. In short, the answer depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.
Whom Do I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk in Queens?
It depends on who has the duty to maintain the sidewalk. City-owned sidewalks are repaired and maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation. New York City Administrative Code §7-210 requires property owners to maintain sidewalks on their property.
Therefore, parties that could be liable for your injuries from falling on a sidewalk include, but are not limited to:
- Government entities and agencies
- Residential homeowners
- Commercial property owners
- Businesses and retail establishments
- Landlords and owners of apartment buildings
- Churches or houses of worship
- Private schools and daycares
With nearly 12,800 million feet of sidewalks throughout the city, it could be difficult to know whom to sue if you fall on a sidewalk in Queens. A personal injury lawyer in Queens, NY researches records to determine who owns the property and who is liable for maintaining the sidewalk in a “reasonably safe condition” as required by law.
Common Causes of Sidewalk Accidents in Queens
Maintaining the sidewalk includes repairing damages and sidewalk defects to prevent hazardous walking conditions. Dangerous sidewalk conditions that can cause a fall or accident include:
- Unrepaired crevices and large cracks
- Buckling and cracks from tree roots
- Damage from ice and snow
- Settling that causes uneven surfaces
- Crumbled and decayed areas
- Pavement that is sinking into the ground
- Damages from heat or water intrusion
- Use of defective material to construct or repair sidewalks
- Negligent installation of sidewalks
- Improper sidewalk design
Not every crack or defect is a dangerous condition. It is key to obtain evidence at the time of the accident. In many cases, the property owner quickly repairs the damage when an accident occurs to prevent other accidents.
Therefore, take as many pictures of the sidewalk as it appears when you fall as possible. Also, make a video of the entire accident scene with your cell phone.
If possible, ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information. Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries to document your damages. In addition, report the accident to the property owner as soon as possible.
What is the Deadline to File a Sidewalk Accident Lawsuit in Queens?
Sidewalk falls generally are covered by premises liability laws. The statute of limitations for filing premise liability lawsuits in New York is three years from the accident date. However, this deadline applies in cases involving private and commercial property owners.
If a government agency is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days from the injury date. If not, you could lose the right to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits against the government for sidewalk accidents must be filed within one year and 90 days of the accident date.
Sidewalk Falls Cause Serious Injuries
Falling on a sidewalk because of a defect can cause severe injuries. Common injuries caused by sidewalk accidents include:
- Fractures and broken bones, including fractures of the hip, knee, shoulder, and wrist
- Traumatic brain injuries and skull fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries and spinal fractures
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Lacerations and scarring
- Neck injuries and whiplash
- Wrist and ankle injuries
Injuries caused by falling on a sidewalk can result in long recovery periods. Some individuals might sustain permanent impairments or disabilities. A knee injury or hip injury could result in joint replacement surgery later in life. The damages caused by these injuries can be substantial.
What Damages Can I Recover if I Sue After a Sidewalk Fall in Queens?
You deserve fair compensation if a property owner’s negligence and wrongdoing caused your sidewalk accident. You might be entitled to receive compensation for economic damages, including:
- The cost of past and future medical treatment and care
- Long-term personal care or nursing care
- Lost wages and benefits
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Reductions in future earning potential
You may also be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Impairments, disfigurement, scarring, and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Insurance companies and property owners fight injury claims for sidewalk accidents. Cases involving a government entity can be even more complicated and frustrating. Seeking legal advice from an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible can give you a better chance of receiving the money you deserve for a sidewalk fall.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm in Queens, NY
We have two convenient locations in New York: