Stairwells outside of apartment building.

What to do After a Sidewalk or Stairwell Accident

Who doesn’t love going to a New York water park or beach on a hot summer day? But what if your fun in the sun is decimated with a fall on an uneven sidewalk? Or perhaps a fall on some stairs occurs because insufficient handrails are available. That’s when it’s time to call the experienced accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum.

Sidewalks New York City Administrative Code

New York City code is unambiguous: sidewalks are required to be maintained in reasonably safe condition by the property owner abutting the sidewalk. If the walkway is actually on the premises of a property owner, that owner is obviously responsible for the maintenance of that the walkway.

Poor Maintenance of a Walkway

Any sidewalk that has not been installed, constructed, paved or repaired, or that is missing working appropriate flags, or that contains negligent amounts of dirt or other materials constitutes failure to maintain. Additionally, raised or sunken lots comprise an unsafe sidewalk. Specifically, City Code names the following features as violations:

  • Missing sidewalk flags;
  • Undermined sidewalk flags;
  • Trip hazards related to vertical grade differentials;
  • Improper slope that does not allow for proper drainage;
  • Defects of hardware and/or structural integrity;
  • Lack of compliance with DOT specifications;
  • Improper patchwork.

Are Handrails Required on Public Properties?

Handrails must be provided between 30 and 34 inches above tread nosing on both sides of both interior and exterior stairs. The exception to this is if the passage is less than forty-four inches wide, in which case a handrail is required on only one side. Additionally, 36-inch guards are required on all landings, with openings small enough to prevent the passage of a five-inch ball. Also, those railings must be designed to resist a lateral impact of at least fifty pounds per foot.

Injured in a Fall?  What You Need to Know Now?

Several important factors come into play now:

  • What is the statute of limitations on my injury?
  • How is my personal injury compensation determined, and how does that relate to what an insurance company will pay?
  • Are there any “special” damages, including medical costs, lost income, personal property damage, or out-of-pocket expenses?
  • What general damages related to pain and discomfort can I seek?
  • Have there been emotional or psychological stresses due to the injury?
  • Has my life been negatively impacted by the accident? Has the accident impacted my sexual companionship?
  • Was my accident due to gross negligence on the part of the property owner?

These are the questions that the capable and efficient accident attorneys at the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum will discuss with you.  Call (718) 237-5586 to schedule your free consultation in our Brooklyn office.