After existing my vehicle on the drivers side, I walked around to the passenger side to get my belongings, when I stepped back to close my car door my right foot went into a hole (about a foot deep) in the grass between the curb and the sidewalk and I fell backwards – there were no warning signs, or cones to block off or warn of this deep hole – I am making a doctor’s appointment due to back pain that I am experiencing now.
I have pictures to support this hole in the ground.
In addition to the liability concerns stated by Mr. Adams, you don't indicate the extent or severity of your injury. If the injury is minor or temporary, you may have difficulty finding an attorney to handle the matter even if you can establish fault. A important question is whether or nor this was a private walkway or a municipal sidewalk. If the latter, you only have a short time to file a notice of claim with (I am assuming) New York City. You should really consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
It will depend on several factors. Was the City informed in writing about the hole. How did the hole come about? Was the grass trip opposite a home? who maintained the grass strip. How serious is your injury? These questions and others will need to be answered before it can be determined whether you have a case. I would consult a personal injury attorney who will discuss your case with you without charging you. Feel good.
As Mr. Adams indicated, you may have a case. Do you know who owns the property? If it is a municipality they must be served with a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. As for the injuries, you need to discuss the specifics with your doctor to determine whether a case is worthwhile.
You might have a viable case against the property owner or the municipality (New York City?), Depending upon various factors such as our ability to prove prior notice of the defective condition. Equally significant is the severity of your injuries.
I'll be happy to discuss the case further with you after you have been examined by Dr. had any diagnostic tests required to determine the extent of your injuries.
Please keep in mind that there is a 90 day time limit from the date of the accident service of a notice of claim against the municipality. Other time limits also apply regarding their potential claim against the municipality as well as the homeowner.
There's also the possibility that the homeowners insurance policy might provide medical payments coverage, to pay your medical bills up to the limit of that endorsement on the policy.
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before any lawyer can give you a meaningful opinion. Other counsel have mentioned some of the obvious ones. You owe it to yourself to contact a lawyer immediately, whether myself or one of my colleagues. There may be deadlines that you need to observe in order to preserve you rights to sue (such as a Notice of Claim). If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it BEST ANSWER or HELPFUL. Also, please be sure to read my disclaimer below. Good luck to you.
Dean P. Murray
The Murray Law Firm
You certainly have a claim. If the injury happened on a public sidewalk, make sure you document it with many photos showing exactly what property was in front of. You also may need to give notice to the municipality within 90 days by filing a notice of claim. The value of your claim depens on your precise injury and many other factors not ascertainable from your post. You should definitely consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
We had our office in Bayside on Bell Blvd for years. If you fell in front of a commercial building or a non owner occupied 1-3 family, then you would have a claim against the private adjoining property owner - not the City of New York. The claim is easier to make because you don't have to prove actual written notice as you would against the City of New York- simply constructive notice- or proof that the conditon existed for a period of time and the adjoining owner should have been aware of it. Interestingly, I had a very similar case with a client who fell in front of a house on 215th Street and 46th Avenue. She stepped into a hole between the sidewalk and the grassy median that was no observable. We investigated and found out that the adjoining home was a two family not occupied by the landlord. We were thus able to uccessfully bring a claim with the property owner's insurance company. I'd be happy to dscuss the case with you. In any event, you need to have your attorney thoroughly investigate the ownership of the adjoining property. Good luck to you.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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