Slip and fall accidents which occur on public property are much more complicated than cases against private property owners. This is because government agencies enjoy certain liability protections which private property owners do not. However, there are situations where you can hold a municipality liable for negligence which contributed to an injury.
When Can Municipalities Be Sued For Slip & Fall Accidents?
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit against a city or state agency, you must prove that the agency had written notice of the dangerous condition which caused your accident and that they had a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem. If they were aware of the unsafe condition and neglected to fix it, they could be considered negligent and found liable for damages.
Premises liability cases against cities, states, and towns fall under the umbrella of municipal liability. These cases are difficult to win, but an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in these matters will know how to hold government agencies liable for slips and falls on public property in Queens.
There is also a stricter time limit for filing claims against municipalities. Claims against private property owners may be made within 3 years of the accident, but you must file a notice of claim within 90 days of your accident if you’re planning to sue a government body.
Common Examples Of Municipal Liability
Just like private business owners, municipalities have a duty to keep their premises free of hazards which could hurt people. Examples of city and state-run property where slip and fall accidents could occur include:
- Government buildings – Like all other properties, government buildings must be outfitted with the proper safety measures. Wet floors must have proper warning signs, floors should be in good shape without broken or uneven tiles, staircases should have handrails, there should be proper lighting, etc. Failure to meet these requirements could result in an injury and subsequent lawsuit.
- Sidewalks – Sidewalks must be regularly maintained and kept free of hazards, such as breaks, uneven pavement, potholes, ice and snow, etc. In many slip and fall cases, maintenance of sidewalk is the responsibility of an abutting landowner, not the government. So if you tripped and fell on a sidewalk near a private business, the business owner would likely be the liable party.
- Potholes – Street potholes create a serious tripping hazard. If a pothole has been reported, it’s up to the city to address it in a reasonable amount of time, before someone ends up getting hurt.
- Public transportation – Buses, trains, and stations should all be regularly maintained and free of dangerous conditions. A 2008 report by the Mass Transit Authority’s inspector general’s office concluded that 23 of the 27 stations reviewed had serious trip and fall hazards. Between 2011 and 2016, NYC Transit paid out $431 million in settlements to people injured by MTA trains and buses.
- Public housing – Public housing projects should have staff who regularly clean and maintain common areas. If a hazardous condition has been reported in a courtyard, staircase, hallway, or other common space, it must be addressed quickly. If it goes unfixed and someone gets hurt, the city could face liability.
Cases against municipalities are complex and each case has unique circumstances. If you’ve been injured on public property in Queens, you should consider meeting with one of Lipsig Queens’ municipal liability lawyers to discuss the details of your accident.
How Our Municipal Liability and Premises Liability Lawyers Can Help
Any personal injury lawsuit requires the guidance of experienced legal counsel, but for claims against municipalities, it’s even more important to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible. The 90-day window for filing a notice of claim goes by fast, and it’s important to give your lawyer as much time as possible to help you build a case. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are prepared to investigate all of the details of your accident, help you provide medical evidence for your injury, and determine if the city acted negligently by failing to address a dangerous condition despite a written warning.
We can also help you to determine if a private property owner was at fault for your injuries, rather than a government entity. For example, that sidewalk you got injured on may have been the responsibility of a private business owner, rather than the city or state. In any case, our lawyers will happily discuss the details of your accident and injuries in a free consultation in order to determine the best plan of action for you and your situation.