The long stretches of sidewalks in New York are always full of people as they walk every day to their daily lives, unaware of the many dangers that lie below their feet. Some of these dangers include poorly maintained access panels, side grates, and utility holes. A slip or fall on a sidewalk can lead to severe injury or even death.
Sidewalks can break down or crack as a result of poor maintenance, heavy rainfall or negligent construction. When no one addresses the defects in good time, potholes can develop, increasing the risk of that area. Snow and rain may not be too friendly as they find their way to the cracks, freezing and expanding below the pavement. The New York Case Law outlines the city, utility companies, and transit authorities as the people liable to any injuries as a result of inadequate grate maintenance.
According to the provisions of the New York Administrative Code, Section 7-210, properties such as businesses, temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, multifamily dwellings, and any other properties should maintain their sidewalks. The maintenance includes getting rid of ice and snow, fixing broken pavement, and taking care of raised sewers or grating.
It is, however, different for residential property owners of one, two, or three families. For such a property that does not operate businesses, the city takes care of the sidewalk. If someone gets an injury due to a defective sidewalk, the city is liable to pay for the damages. However, the victim has to file for the claim early before the time limit is over.