Can I Sue New York City for a Slip and Fall on the Sidewalk?
In many situations, a slip and fall injury could result in a significant monetary settlement if the property owner was negligent. From grocery stores to private homes, these claims can result in substantial compensation. While the process of recovering damages is never easy, the skilled New York City slip and fall lawyers of Douglas and London can make all the difference.
However, the chances of recovery for slip and fall injuries on public property are more challenging. As a government entity, New York City enjoys significant protections– in the form of immunity. These defenses come in multiple forms, but the result is rarely good for the injury victim in any of them.
That does not mean you are entirely out of luck. Slip and fall cases against the city can succeed– especially with the guidance of a personal injury attorney.
Understanding governmental immunity
The state and local governments of New York are not shy about stacking the deck against anyone interested in suing them. This is done in part through official immunity, as noted above, that protects the city from civil liability in many cases.
The most important factor in these cases involves written notice of the hazard. While New York City is not liable for injuries caused by hazards it was unaware of, their immunity goes away if they had notice. This notice must be in writing and specify the exact hazard that is responsible for your injury. What’s more, written notice must have been provided before your injury occurred. It will not do any good to send written notice after your injury occurs.
Consider the following example. You are walking down an alleyway where unknown to you; a manhole cover was stolen. The manhole cover in question has been missing for several months, and multiple residents wrote to the city to complain. Despite this, the city failed to take any action. If you fall and suffer an injury, this prior notice could open doors for a civil claim.
In addition, there are other requirements that could jeopardize your claim if you fail to comply. Most importantly, you must provide the city with written notice of your injury shortly after it occurs. It is important to note that this is not the same thing as the statute of limitations.
The notice requirement is different for every state or local agency. It can be as short 30 days or as long as 90. No matter the case, it is imperative to seek out the specific deadline and comply. If you fail to provide notice as required by state law, you could lose your chance to file a lawsuit.
What to do after a fall on city property
The steps you take immediately after a slip and fall accident can directly impact your chances of recovery and will help your personal injury lawyer build your case. By taking the wrong steps, you could hurt your chances even if your underlying claim is strong. The following will provide you with the best chance of building a winning claim.
- Notify a security guard or police officer after the fall. Find an official or city employee and let them know the accident occurred. This will generate an official report that could be valuable to your claim in the future.
- Review the report. Ensure the report is accurate and includes your correct information.
- Identify witnesses. Obtain contact information for anyone who witnessed your fall.
- Seek medical help. Your injuries could get worse if you fail to seek treatment, and a lack of medical records could hamper your injury claim.
- Call a lawyer. Do not take on this challenge alone. The city will have attorneys; you should too.
Contact us at Douglas and London today
Our New York City personal injury lawyers have extensive experience taking on the city and winning. If you have suffered a slip and fall injury on public property, we are ready to assist you with recovering the compensation you desercve. Set up a free consultation to learn more.