You are walking along the sidewalk in New York City, minding your own business. All of the sudden, you lose your footing, you slip and fall, and you find yourself severely injured because of it. Who is responsible for your injury? Is someone other than yourself liable?

We will explore these questions in this article. While doing research on your own is important, you should always consult with a New York City slip and fall attorney to confirm that you are taking the necessary steps to support your case.

If someone trips, falls, or slips on someone else's property and has injuries as a consequence, they may file a slip and fall lawsuit as a personal injury claim. Importantly, the claimant cannot be held responsible for the fall; rather, it must have been caused by the property owner's carelessness or negligence.

Can You Sue and Who is Liable?

Whether a public entity is liable in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk in New York City depends on many factors, including the conditions that led to the injury. In most cases, the public entity must have known about the dangerous condition that caused the accident, and had failed to remedy the situation in a reasonable amount of time. In some cases, a private property owner may be liable for the injury.

If the sidewalk was not in good condition when you fell, you can still file a lawsuit against the city. However, in order for a lawsuit to be successful, you need to prove that the city – in this case, New York City – neglected its property and it was negligent in causing the injury. If a sidewalk is crumbling, uneven or cracked, you can use that as evidence. If the city does not respond to your personal inquiry, you will need to seek the services of a slip and fall accident lawyer.

The burden of proof is on the victim in a slip and fall accident. The city or private property owner may also mount a defense. However, even if you're partly at fault, you may still recover compensation. Because New York is a comparative negligence state, your compensation could be reduced by the percentage of fault you share. This is usually determined by a judge or jury.

How to prove liability for a slip and fall accident

If you or a loved one has fallen on a New York City sidewalk, you may be wondering how to prove liability.

It may be challenging to demonstrate that someone else's negligence was the cause of your fall. In order to establish the validity of your claim, it must be demonstrated that either the owner intentionally created the conditions that caused the fall, that they were aware of the hazard but deliberately chose not to remedy them, or that they were present for so long that the owner had a reasonable opportunity to remedy them but did not.

In addition to providing detailed information about the accident, you must also submit a Notice of Claim to the municipality. In order to file a lawsuit for damages against a municipality or other governmental organizations, New York law requires that a notice of claim be drafted and submitted. Your claim must contain detailed information regarding the location and condition of the sidewalk. It’s in your best interest to retain the help of a personal injury attorney to determine which steps to take. There are time limits to file a claim too, and in New York, they are strictly enforced. That's why it is crucial to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Regardless of who is at fault, document the details of your accident to show that the property owner was negligent. That means you should take pictures, and write down the names and contact information of any witnesses who were around when the incident happened. A successful slip and fall case in New York requires evidence of negligence. 

Limitations & Regulations To Remember

Going up against a city, state or government entity will be a difficult challenge. To safeguard governmental organizations against this type of litigation, certain regulations are put in place. This includes:

  • Deadline to Submit a Claim: this is referred to as a statute of limitation, which is a regulation that establishes a deadline for the filing of types of litigation. In this case, this is an important number. Generally, a typical personal injury claim – that doesn't involve a municipal or governmental entity – has a time frame of 1-10 years after the accident occured to file. This varies from state to state. However, when legal action is taken against a state municipality, such as the city, this time frame is drastically shortened to only 1 to 3 months. Needless to say, it's important to take action quickly if this is your situation.
  • Specific Procedures: If any of the required steps are skipped while bringing a slip and fall lawsuit against a city, state, or other government entity, the claim will be dismissed. If you submit a claim or file a notice and it is sent to the wrong municipal agency, for example, the issue is simply disregarded. In these cases, the statute of limitations has already run out before the claimant learns of their error. After this, there isn’t much more you can do.
  • Compensation Limits: The maximum amount that may be recovered from claims made against municipalities is normally $10,000. States may also limit the proportion that the lawyer receives if the matter is resolved (the contingency-fee). Limiting the claimant's potential compensation discourages the aggrieved party from bringing forth a lawsuit, and lowering the contingency fee makes the lawyer less inclined to take the case in the first place. Both strategies are effective in discouraging people and lawyers from bringing lawsuits against cities, states, or other governmental entities.
  • Sovereign Immunity: In certain cases, regardless of the when or how the accident happened, the government is exempt from culpability. This is commonly referred to as "sovereign immunity," and the rules governing this could be different in each state.

Consult With A Slip and Fall Lawyer To Learn Your Rights

Before filing a lawsuit, it's key to consult with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the nuances of the law and has expertise in the field. Be sure to seek someone with experience and a proven track record of success. This may make all the difference in how your case turns out.

There's no up-front risk. You don't have to pay anything to get a New York personal injury lawyer such as Brandon J. Broderick. We only get paid if we win your case; and you won't have to pay if we lose.

For a free consultation, get in touch with Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law.

Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Fri, 07/29/2022 - 02:21

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