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Here in the Hudson Valley, the winter means it is slip and fall season. If you slip or trip and fall and get hurt because of the negligence of someone else on their property, you may well be entitled to financial damages for your pain and suffering. Negligence generally means that the party failed to use reasonable care.

Proving a slip, trip and fall accident in New York is not as simple as: I slipped on your property, I hurt myself, pay me! There are legal and factual issues that make each case a challenge.

This article is designed to provide a brief and general overview of who is liable for a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk in New York. While it is helpful to understand the general rules about sidewalk liability, you should not make assumptions about how the law might apply to your specific accident. Instead, you should schedule a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation at our office, by calling 845-778-2121.

Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident on a Sidewalk in the Hudson Valley?

In many of the cities, towns, and villages across New York State, the government can only be held liable for a sidewalk accident if the government had prior written notice of the dangerous sidewalk condition. Yes, a defense to a municipality can be that it was not notified IN WRITING of a defective condition.

Accordingly, as slip & fall lawyers, one of the first steps we take when investigating an accident on municipal property is to determine whether the municipality had actual knowledge of the sidewalk defect before your accident. In some cases, we do indeed learn that written notice was provided but that the municipality failed to take reasonable action to repair it.

However, even if it turns out the municipality did not have prior written notice, you may still have options for achieving a financial recovery. In fact, you may have a claim against the individual or commercial property owner whose property borders the portion of the sidewalk where your accident happened. In fact, in many parts of the state, the municipality owns the sidewalk but the bordering owner must maintain it!

Determining who is liable for a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk can be complicated. While we have briefly described some of the general rules for the Hudson Valley, the specific facts and circumstances of any given accident can make all the difference.

Slip and Fall Accidents on Private or Residential Sidewalks

Sidewalk accidents don’t always happen in public. Some sidewalks are located entirely on private or residential property. Private property owners are required to inspect their property and take reasonable efforts to maintain the premises in a safe condition.

If you are injured in a sidewalk slip and fall on private or residential property, your damages may be covered under or one more insurance policies, such as the homeowner’s insurance policy. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your options.

What If the Accident Happens Because of Ice or Snow?

Property owners generally have a duty to clear accumulated ice and snow from sidewalks abutting their premises — an extension of their duty to maintain the sidewalk in general. But courts have also realized that snow sometimes accumulates too quickly to clear away. Accordingly, liability in this case will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The time of day;
  • Whether snow was still falling at the time of the accident;
  • How long the snow or ice has been accumulated on the sidewalk;
  • Whether any other hazards or negligence also contributed to the accident;

Free & Confidential Consultation with a Hudson Valley Premises Liability Lawyer

Jacobowitz & Gubits is a full service law firm with a department dedicated to personal injury cases.

We fight hard to obtain the maximum recovery for you. We are proud to offer confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultations to accident victims throughout the state. If you choose to hire us after your consultation, we will not charge you a fee unless we get you money first.

If you can’t come to us, we will come to you.

Call us for a free consultation, 845-778-2121 or schedule an appointment at [email protected].

This is not intended to be legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.  


Robert M. Lefland is Senior Counsel and primary attorney in charge of civil litigation and Personal Injury at J&G.

He can be reached by calling 866.303.9595 toll free or 845.764.9656 and by email .

He is available by appointment on Saturday’s.

If you need his immediate attention, you can reach him on cell.



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