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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Do Premises Liability Laws Apply to Sidewalks in Residential Areas?

Premises liability lawsuits hold that if you get injured in a preventable accident on private property, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the property. The details vary according to who owns the property, why the injured person was there, and how preventable the accident was. In some cases, you can even sue the local government in charge of the property if the accident occurred on public property.

At one end of the spectrum, businesses must follow strict rules about preventing injury to customers. Therefore, it is easy for plaintiffs to recover damages if they fall on a slippery or uneven surface inside a retail store or restaurant.

On the other hand, you cannot sue the county if you get struck by lightning in a public park; it is unreasonable to expect the county to make the park inaccessible to visitors whenever there are thunderstorms in the area. If you get injured on a sidewalk when you are just passing by someone’s property, there is more room for debate about whether the property owner was responsible for preventing the accident. If you have suffered serious injuries after tripping and falling on a sidewalk, contact a New York slip, trip, and fall attorney.

Important Premises Liability Lawsuit Questions: Who Does the Sidewalk Belong to, and Why Were You There?

This year, a woman who was injured while jogging in the Victorian Flatbush area of Brooklyn filed a lawsuit against the owners of two houses adjacent to the uneven area of the sidewalk. The plaintiff tripped and fell on the sidewalk right at the line between two homeowners’ property. News reports about the incidents did not clearly indicate whether the area of the sidewalk where the accident happened is considered the private property of the homeowners or whether it is the public property of the city or county.

In either case, the duty of care of private homeowners and public entities toward people who walk on their property is less than that of businesses to their customers. If a business invitee, meaning a customer or paying guest, accidentally gets injured at a place of business, the accident is almost always the business owner’s responsibility unless the business owner can provide evidence that the accident resulted from the injured person’s negligence.

If you slip and fall on the floor of a Walmart store, it is almost always Walmart’s responsibility. It is not Walmart’s responsibility, however, if you get injured while climbing the shelves to retrieve an item not meant to be within reach of customers. Instead, the reasonable thing for the customer to do would be to ask a sales associate to climb a ladder to retrieve the item.

Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC About Premises Liability Cases

A personal injury lawyer can help you if you get injured in a slip-and-fall accident on a sidewalk. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC in Brooklyn, New York, or call (212)671-1110 to discuss your case.


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