Sidewalks help keep pedestrians out of dangerous traffic across New York City. In total, there are more than 12,000 miles of sidewalks. The maintenance responsibility for these sidewalks typically falls to property owners.
Unfortunately, some sidewalks in New York don’t receive the maintenance and repair they require. Age, improper installation or weather changes could all lead to cracks, crumbling cement or uneven sections of sidewalk. These poorly-maintained sidewalks are a frustration for the average pedestrian, but they can be a serious risk for people in wheelchairs.
Why sidewalk maintenance is crucial to those in wheelchairs
Wheelchairs generally require more space on a sidewalk than a pedestrian would. The ability of someone to safely travel down a section of sidewalk in a wheelchair depends on the levelness and consistency of the sidewalk.
Broken sections or sections that tilt at an angle could pose significant challenges for those in wheelchairs. They could get stuck or lose control of their wheelchair, possibly striking a person or edifice. In a worst-case scenario, they might inadvertently roll into traffic.
Poorly-maintained sidewalks could make someone in a wheelchair feel like they must bypass that section of sidewalk by intentionally wheeling down the road, which can drastically increase their risk for a potentially deadly incident with a motor vehicle. Poor sidewalk maintenance has been the source of numerous recent Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance lawsuits.
Property owners have an obligation to maintain the sidewalk adjacent to the buildings they own. Their failures can lead to serious injury in some cases.
Taking action against someone whose improper maintenance of their real estate led to an injury for you or someone you loved can force them to change their behavior and also compensate your family for your losses.