Raising the Flag

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Q: In the City, while walking on the sidewalk in front of her facility, my mother tripped and fell on the edge of a sidewalk flag.  It was not level with the adjoining one.

The cable company maintains an underground vault there.  Its cover is located in the area on which my mother tripped.  We took photographs.

A: A crucial question is whether the edge of the sidewalk flag was located within 12 inches of the perimeter of the vault cover.  As a general rule, within 12 inches, the cable company has the duty to repair any defect in the pavement.  Outside 12 inches, the owner of the abutting property has that duty.

Your attorney will argue that the uneven condition of the sidewalk flags had existed for a sufficient length of time to permit the defendant to discover and remedy it.  Thus, the defendant had ‘constructive notice’ of the dangerous condition.  The parties will look for evidence on such questions as whether the condition was visible or apparent and whether the defendant had inspected the flags recently.

Even if the cable company lacked any notice, and even if the defect was outside twelve inches of the cover, the company will nevertheless be liable if it created the hazardous condition when it installed the underground vault – or if, subsequently, the company damaged the cover.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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