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Premises liability issues on public sidewalks in New York

New York residents may recall a recent accident involving a broken railing that fell from above Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The fall resulted in large chunks of concrete falling to the public sidewalk below.

A tractor trailer caused the fall after running into the railing. Fortunately, since surrounding pedestrians were able to dodge the railing, the fall resulted in no injuries.

Trucks are forbidden from driving on the viaduct above Grand Central. However, the driver of the tractor trailer was unaware of this rule. Signs are posted on poles near the viaduct base, stating that passenger cars are the only permissible vehicles on the viaduct and listing a maximum weight limit of 15 tons. According to the driver, he did not notice the signs because of the heavy traffic in the area.

Recent street modifications in New York City

Numerous modifications to New York City streets have taken place in recent years. Although many people see these changes as improvements, the changes are also causing confusion for some residents, particularly those who are visually impaired. James Vacca, chairman of the city council's Transportation Committee, says that the alternations are usually made too quickly and as a result; do not consider the needs of the visually impaired.

However, Janet Sidek-Kahn, a local transportation commissioner, told the New York Times that with a city that is constantly changing and growing, street alterations are essential. The transportation commissioner says that the Transportation Commission does try to meet the needs of the visually impaired and has installed several accessible pedestrian signals at intersections. She also says there are plans to install the signals at 25 additional intersections yearly.

However, advocates for the visually impaired say more steps are necessary. Current street layouts are so different from the normal grid that visually impaired residents are avoiding certain areas. One visually impaired resident told a New York Times reporter, there is no longer a "definition of where the street is."

Premises liability issues for public sidewalks

For people who are injured while walking the streets of New York, premises liability law may offer some compensation. Premises liability law holds possessors of property legally accountable for injuries occurring on their premises. The definition of premises includes land, property, and a business's location.

There are several types of incidents that commonly result in premises liability claims. Some of the most common are slip-and-fall accidents or accidents that occur when falling objects on public sidewalks injure pedestrians. Injuries may also occur from potholes or fragile stairway rails.

Property owners have a duty to keep the area in front of their premises clear from pedestrian hazards. The condition of a business's premises cannot pose a danger to passing pedestrians.

If dangers are present, property owners have a duty to warn pedestrians about the danger. However, this duty is generally not owed to trespassers on the property.

New York residents who are injured due to conditions on another's property can benefit from speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney can provide valuable guidance and assist with obtaining full and fair compensation.

Our law firm has been assisting clients with a wide range of legal matters since 1976.


We have earned a reputation as aggressive attorneys who provide high-quality representation to clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties and beyond.
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