Was It Trivial?

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Q: In New York City, the right heel of my shoe became stuck in a crack on the sidewalk.  I tripped and fell.  Within minutes, my friend took photographs.

A: Under New York City Administrative Code 7-210(a), it is “the duty of the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk, including, but not limited to, the intersection quadrant for corner property, to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.”

Often, the owner of the abutting property will seek to circumvent section 7-210(a) by making a ‘triviality’ argument: that it may not be held liable for a defect that is merely trivial, not constituting a trap, snare, or nuisance.  In determining whether a defect is trivial, the court must examine all of the facts presented – including the width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the time, place, and circumstance of the injury.

There is no minimal dimension test or per se rule that a condition must be of a certain height or depth in order to support a lawsuit.  Photographs that fairly and accurately represent the accident site may be used to establish whether or not the defect was trivial.  As with any accident, photographs taken as soon as possible may well make all the difference.

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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