Liability for Sidewalk in Need of Repair

If I fell on a cracked and raised sidewalk in front of someone’s house, can I make a claim for my injuries against the homeowner?

The answer to this question is no.  If you fell on a sidewalk in front of a one or two family house and not by a driveway, then the City of New York would be responsible for your injuries.  (The City is protected by a statute in such cases that requires prior written notice of the defect to the Department of Transportation. Without this written notice you may have no claim at all.) GML section 50-G and NYC Administrative Code section 7-201.

If you have a claim against the City of New York, there are special rules you must follow to make a claim such as filing a notice of claim within 90 days after your accident.  You might also have to attend a municipal hearing and a physical examination by a City doctor before you can file a law suit.  Claims against City also have a statute of limitations of one year and 90 days.

If you fell on a broken sidewalk in front a home’s driveway, then you might also have a claim against the homeowner as well.  But, there are other factors that a lawyer would consider such as the location of the crack near any utilities and storm drains on the street.  Each case is different.

If you fell in front of business or apartment building, then you would bring a claim against the owner of the adjacent commercial property.