Anyone who has ever lived in or visited the City of New York has, unfortunately, seen and experienced the conditions of some of its streets. While attempting to cross the street you may experience depressions, potholes, raised areas, and metal plates to name just a few of the potential hazards. Sadly, many of these conditions are present in the crosswalk areas that you are required and directed to use.
Crossing a street in New York City can become a dangerous and hazardous activity. The danger is sharply and dramatically increased when crossing a busy intersection, with cars turning and so many other people also crossing, that it becomes almost impossible to observe and scan the walking surface in front of you-you may thus encounter an obstacle and unsafe area without ever being aware of it until it is too late.
As a result of these ever-present hazards, being a pedestrian can be dangerous to your health. These hazards are located in the streets that millions of residents and visitors must use on a daily basis so that pedestrians unfortunately experience many slips, trips and falls. Fortunately, not every slip, trip or fall results in a serious injury.
To understand why slips, trips and falls are so dangerous you must think of the numbers. If one thousand (1000) people walk by a pothole or raised area in a crosswalk assume that only ten (10) of them will slip, trip or fall. Assume then that of those that do fall only one (1) will be seriously injured.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a hazardous condition in a New York City street and are reading this article then you should be aware of the following information.
When a street has been dug up, and that activity created a pothole, a depression, or a raised or slippery area (i.e., metal plates) then you should be aware that in order to bring a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries you, and your attorney, need to first figure out who to sue:
To find out who created this dangerous condition you need to look at the “markers” on the street.
The markers represent the various entities that may have dug up the street, such as Con Edison, a phone company, the City of New York Dept of Water or many other entities.
You should take photos as soon as possible after the fall-both close ups and with perspective-so that we can clearly see where the location of the incident is and also what was wrong with the surface that caused you to be injured.
When utility companies mark a location, they use colored flags and/or paint to identify the type of underground service:
- Red - Electric power lines, cables, conduit and lighting cables
- Yellow - Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
- Orange - Communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit
- Blue - Potable water
- Purple - Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
- Green - Sewers and drain lines
- Pink - Temporary survey markings
- White - Proposed excavation
New York City also requires that “round badges” be imbedded in the roadway, in Street openings and excavations 34 RCNY Section 2-11:
“(14) Color Coding. (iii) Upon completion of the restoration, the committee shall install colored markers…”
- (A) Verizon-Cherry red marker
- (B) Empire City Subway-Chrome yellow marker
- (C) Consolidated Edison Co.-Light blue marker
- (D) Keyspan-White marker
- (E) Plumbers (water or sewer)-Green marker
- (F) Signals and Street Lights-Orange marker
- (G) Long Island Power Authority-Yellow marker
- (H) Metropolitan Transit Authority-Purple marker
- (I) Buckeye Pipe Line-Chrome yellow marker
- (J) Fire Department-Purple marker
- (K) Cable T.V.-Regal blue marker
If you need to sue a City or State agency that was negligent in causing the dangerous condition then you must be aware that they have very strict time limits to file what is called a Notice of Claim. If this Notice of Claim is not filed within the period of time set by statute you may lose your right to sue for your damages. Sometimes a Notice of Claim must be filed within ninety (90) days of an accident.
As you can see from the above if you or a loved one was injured in the City of New York and caused to slip, trip or fall due to a dangerous condition in the street then knowing who to sue may be complicated and also time sensitive. It is therefore important to contact experienced attorneys to investigate and start a lawsuit on your behalf.