The Sidewalk Law

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Q: In the City, I was walking on the sidewalk when I tripped over a raised sidewalk flag and fell.

A: Section 7-210 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York imposes tort liability upon certain owners of real property for injuries proximately caused by the failure of such owners to maintain the sidewalks abutting their property in a reasonably safe condition.

However, section 7-210 does not impose ‘strict’ liability.  Rather, you need to prove the elements of negligence in order to demonstrate that the landowner is liable under section 7-210.

That is, you need to prove that the landowner either created the hazardous condition or had actual or constructive notice of its existence for a sufficient length of time to discover and remedy the condition.  If the landowner was aware of the defective condition in the sidewalk for four years, then you appear to have an excellent case of constructive notice.  If this awareness existed for only four seconds, then you do not.  There is no ‘bright line’ cut-off point, somewhere in between.

It is also entirely possible the City itself created the defective condition through an affirmative act of negligence – for example in the course of installing or replacing the sidewalk.  Almost invariably, one sues both the landowner and the City.

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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