Many sidewalks in need of repair exist throughout New York City. In addition, with the approach of the winter snow and ice season, the question of sidewalk safety arises.
Many New Yorkers walk to work, to restaurants, to appointments. If someone slips and falls or trips and falls on a sidewalk, who is liable for any resulting injuries?
According to the law
For the most part, property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks in “reasonably safe condition.” This refers to the owner of any property abutting the sidewalk, including the “intersection quadrant for corner property” and includes responsibility for repaving or replacing defective parts of the sidewalk and for removing snow and ice.
Liability and the city
Those subject to liability include businesses, houses of worship and multi-family dwellings for four or more families. Liability for anyone injured as the result of sidewalk disrepair or a slippery surface does not apply to a “one-two- or three-family” residential property that is wholly or partially owner-occupied. In this case, if the City of New York is aware of the defect or safety issue due to ice or snow, it bears liability if an injury occurs.
In Queens, as in the rest of the city, there are many aging buildings and sidewalks in need of repair. Most property owners have a duty to keep the sidewalks and parking lots for which they are responsible from becoming hazardous though, in certain instances, this is the city’s responsibility. Any property owner who has sidewalk safety concerns can depend on legal guidance for help in understanding the law and the processing of injury claims.