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Summary Judgment Denied in New York Woman’s Trip and Fall Case

Under New York law, property owners have certain responsibilities when it comes to maintaining their property. If this duty of care is breached, a person injured in an accident on the property may be able to pursue fair monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages.

If you have been hurt in a trip and fall accident, it is important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear quickly in these types of cases, making negligence more difficult to prove as time goes by. Talking to an attorney about your fall doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Our knowledgeable Syracuse premises liability attorneys do not charge a consultation fee and will be glad to explain your legal rights following an accident caused by another’s neglect or carelessness.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who tripped and fell on a sidewalk located in front of the defendant residents’ home. The plaintiff sued both the residents of the home and the city in which the property was located, seeking monetary compensation for her injuries. The residents filed a motion for summary judgment, averring that there were no material issues of fact that needed to be determined by the jury and, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the injured woman, they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In support of their motion, the residents submitted evidence that they were exempt from the statutory liability created by the Administrative Code of the City of New York § 7—210(b) because the property in front of which the plaintiff suffered her fall was an owner-occupied, two-family residence. The defendant residents also averred that there was no evidence showing that they made special use of the area.

The Supreme Court for Bronx County, New York, entered judgment denying the defendant residents’ motion for summary judgment, and the injured woman appealed.

The Court’s Decision in the Appeal

The New York Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the lower court’s ruling. While the court agreed with the residents that they had, in fact, make a prima facie showing that they neither caused nor created the defect that allegedly caused the injured woman’s fall, the court did not agree with the residents’ assertion that there was no triable issue of fact. Although the property owners submitted their deposition testimony denying any attempts to repair the area in question prior to the accident, along with testimony from a witness proffered by the defendant city to the effect that the residents had not applied for a sidewalk repair permit within the two years prior to the accident, the appellate tribunal pointed out that there was photographic evidence showing that there was a “patched area” where the woman fell, as well as evidence that the city had not undertaken any repairs prior to the woman’s fall.

Under the circumstances, the court ruled that the defendants’ denials of attempting to repair the sidewalk raised a question of credibility that was not appropriate for summary judgment.

Schedule a Consultation with a Syracuse Attorney

Serious injuries can result from trips, slips, and falls on sidewalks and other property. If you or someone in your family has been hurt in a fall caused by a property owner or governmental entity’s failure to maintain property for which they were responsible, you may have a claim for negligence. For a free consultation about your case, call the experienced Syracuse premises liability lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers at 315-479-9000 and schedule an appointment.

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