Personal Injuries Caused By Falling On Public Sidewalks.

May 30, 2013

When someone suffers a personal injury caused by a dangerous condition on someone’s property, the property owner is usually responsible for any damages.  When a person slips or trips on an uneven or icy public sidewalk, however, who is responsible for paying damages may depend on if it happened in Buffalo or elsewhere in Western New York.  This is because responsibility for maintaining a public sidewalk depends on the laws of the town, village or city where the injury occurred.

In New York State, local governments may pass their own laws regarding who is responsible for maintenance of public sidewalks.  If there is no local law, then the local government is responsible for making sure that public sidewalks are properly maintained and may be sued when a personal injury occurs because of a defective sidewalk.

When there is a local law requiring homeowners and other property owners to maintain the public sidewalks next to their property, who is responsible becomes a little more complicated.  If the law merely states that the property owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, this is not enough for the property owner, instead of the local government, to be held responsible.  Instead, the law must specifically state that if the property owner fails to maintain the sidewalk, he or she is subject to liability for any personal injury.

A property owner – instead of the local government – may also be liable under other circumstances, such as when a property owner dumps snow on the sidewalk and someone falls as a result.  If you have suffered an injury in a fall and have questions about what to do, please feel free to call our office 716-400-0000.  We would be happy to help you.