If you have suffered an injury as a result of a fall on a broken or defective sidewalk, these are the Top Six things you or someone on your behalf should do as soon as possible:
1. Call for help - you or someone on your behalf should call 911 so that the Police can come and assess the situation and document the happening of the accident. In New York, the police will prepare what is called an Aided Report. Aided Reports record occurrences when an individual is injured (not involving a motor vehicle), becomes sick or lost and service is rendered by the New York City Police Department.
2. See Medical Attention - the police or someone on your behalf should call for an ambulance to transport you to the nearest hospital. This insures that you get prompt medical treatment for your injuries to help achieve the best chance of a good recovery. This also will ensure that your accident is documented in case any potentially responsible party disputes the occurrence.
3. Pictures - it is imperative that you know the exact location of where you tripped and the exact nature of the defect. As the old saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." If you are seriously injured, it may not be possible for you to obtain pictures of the defective sidewalk at the time of the accident. If this is the case, it is important to ask a friend or family member to take pictures on your behalf.
4. Witnesses - Try to obtain name/address/telephone number of any witnesses to the incident. Often times, these type of accidents are unwitnessed. Attorneys for the property owner will often question whether the accident occurred, where it occurred and the manner in which you claim it occurred. A cooperative and credible eyewitness can provide powerful evidence and testimony to support your claim.
5. Report the accident - In many cases, the property owner is unaware that an accident has even occurred. If you are unable to report the accident, ask a friend or family member to do so on your behalf.
6. Protect your rights - As soon as you are physically able, contact an experienced New York trip and fall attorney. Again, this is something you can ask a friend or family member to do for you. An experienced attorney will know what steps to take to insure that your rights are fully protected, including notifying the property owner, the municipality and any other parties who need to be put on notice of the accident.
Due to the statute of limitations, individuals who have been injured in a sidewalk fall should not hesitate to contact an experienced premises liability attorney. The statute of limitation is a law specifying the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit following an injury. Failure to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires can result in victims being forever barred from the compensation they may be entitled. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our attorneys understand the importance of filing a claim before the statute of limitations expires. As a result, we will handle all aspects of the lawsuit process to ensure our client's claim gets filed on time.
If you have fallen and suffered an injury due to a defective sidewalk, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. For a free consultation with Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, call 212-406-1700 or fill out our online case review form.