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New York Appellate Court Rules on Trip and Fall Case on Sidewalk, Denies Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion


The defendant, also the third party plaintiff in this case, has filed for a motion for summary judgment and to dismiss the third party complaint against another third party defendant. The defendant included in its motion also asserts that the insurance company must pay the housing company as part of the terms of liability.

According to a New York Injury Lawyer, the housing company has taken note of this motion and has moved for a summary judgment that would dismiss the allegations made against it. The insurance company has also filed a motion to dismiss the complaint of the third party. The main plaintiff in this case filed a motion for the court to provide her with partial summary judgment against the housing company.

According to the information presented, the plaintiff filed a complaint for sustaining personal injuries due to a trip and fall accident. The accident happed on the sidewalk just outside the property of the defendant. The plaintiff has alleged that she tripped and fell on the uneven sidewalk. The housing company was said to be the building owner while the restaurant belonged to a tenant including the space that leads to the sidewalk on the accident site.

A Nassau County Personal Injury Lawyer explained that based on the provisions of the law, the owner of the building that fronts a sidewalk has the duty and responsibility to maintain and repair the sidewalk in case of defects. The owner must ensure that his property is safe at all times. It is the owner of the property who will be liable for any injury claims. The failure to maintain a public sidewalk consists of a failure to create, reconstruct, repair and remove unnecessary material on the sidewalk.

Upon review of the provisions of the law, the landlord or the owner of the property cannot delegate or transfer this duty to anyone. Despite the fact that the owner of the property cannot escape its duty to maintain the safety of the sidewalk, the law does not provide a strict liability to be observed. The liability of the property owner will only be imposed when the owner has been proven to create or cause the defect. The owner will also be liable to the plaintiff if it has received due notice of the sidewalk defect. As owner and property landlord, a contract agreement can be entered between the tenants by acquiring liability insurance for the benefit of all.

According to the court findings, the statements of the witnesses do not corroborate with the testimonies given before the proceedings. In this regard, the housing company or the property owner has failed to establish whether or not there was prior notice before the accident.

The owner had signed a lease with an estate owned by a woman. After almost a decade, the spaces were sublet to other tenants. One of the tenants was a restaurant. It was considered a store lease. After another two years, the basement space was leased to a realty corporation.

According to the lease presented, the document contained provisions that the tenant should maintain, repair and ensure the safety of defective premises. This includes the sidewalks. They should be free from any defect. The lease also contains provisions that the tenants are responsible for maintaining the internal and exterior premises. The sidewalk is considered a part of exterior premises.

After all the facts and evidence are presented, a Queens Personal Injury Lawyer said the issue of whether or not the owner of the building showed negligence in failing to repair the sidewalk had not yet been decided by the court. However, the court has denied the motion for summary judgment by the defendant and owner of the property including the motion to dismiss the case.

If you require the services of an expert attorney, consult Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our legal team is competent and knowledgeable in injury cases. If you are in need of legal assistance, Stephen Bilkis & Associates are ready for your visit in their downtown offices.

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