Worn Steps

“I fell inside my building on interior stairs while I was walking to my apartment. There was nothing on the stairs, but the building is old and the steps are quite worn. Do I have a case?”

You might have a case, depending upon how worn are the steps and and if that wear created a hazzardous condition on which to walk.  This is the type of defect of which our office would make a personal inspection and possibly hire an expert to examine the steps and take measurements.

Even though you may have walked up these stairs many hundreds or thousands of times, if the stairs are in such a condition so as to create a hazardous condition, then your landlord would be responsible for maintaining the stairs in a safe and passable condition.  Whatever your injuries are, we advise all of clients to go to the doctor and follow your trusted physician’s instructions so you can recover from your injuries.


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.)

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.