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Most New Yorkers prefer to walk rather than drive, believing it to be a safe means of transportation. Pedestrians are obligated to use sidewalks to navigate the roads safely. However, if sidewalks are not properly maintained, pedestrians can sustain severe injuries. Property owners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks adjacent to their premises, including clearing weather-related hazards and debris. This responsibility also applies to government-owned properties, which means you can take legal action against the municipality if you are injured due to unsafe sidewalk conditions. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dangerous sidewalk on government property, contact a determined New York City Sidewalk Accident Attorney to help you seek reasonable compensation for your damages. 

What constitutes an unsafe sidewalk?

Unfortunately, severe accidents and injuries can result when the appropriate parties do not take the necessary measures to ensure that sidewalks are safe for pedestrians. If you are injured while walking on a sidewalk, your legal entitlement is determined by the condition of the sidewalk that caused you to slip and fall. The following include but are not limited to conditions that constitute an unsafe sidewalk:

  • Failure to remove weather-related hazards, such as snow or ice
  • Uneven, cracked, raised, and depressed surfaces
  • Gaps from improper installation
  • Loose debris
  • Construction debris
  • Exposed tree root
  • Slippery substances, flooding, or water accumulation

What is the statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents?

Unfortunately, taking legal action against a municipality is challenging as government entities are protected under sovereign immunity. Essentially, the city of New York is protected from being sued for injuries caused by conditions on their property or by acts of their employees without their consent. The New York Court of Claims Act grants private citizens to take legal action against a government agency to seek monetary compensation for their damages under certain circumstances. Ultimately, the state can waive sovereign immunity for an injury claim.

Generally, in a standard premises liability case, individuals injured due to someone else’s negligence have three years from the accident date to pursue legal action against the at-fault party. However, when you seek legal action against a municipality, the time frame you have to file a claim is much shorter as you are required to file a Notice of Claim. In New York, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident date. Failure to file a claim within this strict timeline will result in you being barred from any monetary recovery.

If you have been injured due to an unsafe sidewalk in New York, it is in your best interest to contact a competent New York City sidewalk accident attorney from Swerling Law today. Our firm can help you understand your legal options and assist you in obtaining the fair compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve endured.


Settlement to a barista who slipped and fell on a defective stairwell while working for Starbucks who sustained back injuries requiring multiple surgeries in 2012.


Settlement to a woman who was assaulted and sustained back/hip injuries in 2015.


Verdict to a high school student who was assaulted by a school dean during her lunch period dislocating her hip in 2014.


Settlement to a man who was run over by a dump truck on a Brooklyn street causing him to sustain multiple injuries, including but not limited to a broken leg and detached urethra in 2019.


Settlement to a woman who slipped and fell down a wet stairwell in a New York City Housing Authority building requiring a back surgery in 2018.

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