The N.Y.C. “Pothole Law” – Prior Written Notice Requirement

Accident Lawyers Advocating for Victims of Injuries on New York City Public Property

The knowledgeable and experienced injury attorneys at the Jesse Minc Law Group are dedicated to pursuing justice for accident victims who have suffered injuries due to unsafe conditions on public property, such as a New York City street or sidewalk. We have successfully handled more sidewalk accident lawsuits in New York City and beyond than we can count, and have recovered millions in compensation for sidewalk accident victims in the process. Our team of Bronx premises liability lawyers has been recognized as leaders in their field by their peers, and our staff includes many experienced investigators and experts. In order to ensure that each one of our clients receives the attention that they need and deserve, we limit the number of cases that we will accept, and if we accept your case it is because we believe in your right to a substantial recovery from those who caused you harm. As a client of the accident attorneys at the Jesse Minc Law Group, you always have access to the attorney working on your case. For evidence of our commitment to our clients, look no further than our greater than 95 percent rate of success in both litigation and negotiation of a settlement.

Injuries Sustained on Someone Else’s Property in New York City

The legal doctrine of premises liability states that property owners owe a duty of care to people who may reasonably be expected to enter their property. They need to maintain the property in a safe manner, and to remove known hazards or warn people of hazardous conditions. The owner of a store that is open to the general public owes a high duty of care, since they expect large numbers of people to be present on their property. Their duty includes making sure that the premises are free of dangers that might cause slip and fall accidents and other preventable accidents. By the same token, those who own – or are otherwise legally responsible for – the public sidewalks in NYC owe a duty of care to pedestrians who use the sidewalk.

New York City is responsible for maintaining public roadways and sidewalks, where millions of people travel by vehicle and by foot each day. The city’s liability for injuries resulting from a failure to make repairs and perform maintenance seems clear, but it is complicated by two factors, with which our Bronx attorneys are intimately familiar. First, governmental immunity requires anyone seeking to file suit against the city to file a notice of claim describing their injuries and the damages that they are seeking. Second, New York City’s “pothole law” states that the city is not liable for injuries caused by potholes and other hazardous road conditions, unless it has received prior written notice of the hazard in the exact manner specified by law.

The New York City Pothole Law

Section 7-201(c)(2) of the Administrative Code of New York City, also known as the “pothole law,” states that the city is not liable “for damage to property or injury to person or death” caused by any defect or hazardous condition on a “street, highway, bridge, wharf, culvert, sidewalk or crosswalk,” unless one of the following notice requirements is met:

  • Written notice to the Commissioner of Transportation describing the defect or hazardous condition;
  • Written notice to a city agency of an injury caused by a defect or hazardous condition; or
  • Written acknowledgment from the city of a defect or hazardous condition, with no action to remove or repair the condition within 15 days.

Failing to meet this requirement will result in the dismissal of any lawsuit filed. The law requires the Commissioner of Transportation to maintain records of all written notices. The Department of Transportation is required to provide written acknowledgment of all notices that it receives. When we accept a NYC sidewalk accident case, one of the first things that we do is demand that the NYC Department of Transportation turn over its files relating to any prior written notices that it may have received in the past relating to the area in which an accident occurred.

Potholes Under New York State Law

Injuries occurring on state highways, rather than city streets, may be governed by the state “pothole law.” Under § 58 of the New York Highway Law, the state is liable for damages caused by “defects in state highways,” but only if the injury or damage occurs between May 1 and November 15. This is the time of year when potholes are less likely to occur. The state is not liable for damages occurring during most of the winter and spring. Cases against the State of New York must be filed in the Court of Claims, a special court set up to deal with claims against the State of New York only, and there is no right of a jury trial (a judge will decide the case without the use of a jury in all cases against the State of New York, including those relating to crashes on State highways caused by defects in State-owned roadways and highways).

Get Legal Advice from an Injury Attorney at our Bronx Office Today

Clients of the Jesse Minc Law Group do not just benefit from our attorneys’ years of experience. We also maintain a network of experts in a wide range of fields to help us put together a compelling case for each client. Our team of investigators includes a retired N.Y.P.D. detective, who can locate witnesses and secure evidence needed to present your claims. These resources are available to you at no up-front cost. We pay 100% of the expenses needed to investigate and prepare your case for trial and appeal, and you do not need to pay us back unless we win. To schedule a free consultation to see how we can assist you, contact us today at (718) 354-8000 or online. We represent people in the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. Se habla español.

Client Testimonials
When I got hurt after falling on a scaffold on a construction site, I could not work in construction anymore and did not know how I could support my family. I turned to Jesse Minc and I am very happy that I met him. He also discusses my case in Spanish with me when I want to, and that always made me feel comfortable. I believe that he is the best lawyer in New York City and I would recommend him to anybody who is injured. Hector Vargas, Bronx, New York
After I was very badly hurt in a construction accident and could not work anymore, I turned to Jesse Minc. I have had a lot of lawyers over the years, but he is the best I ever had. Because I was a member of Local 6A Concrete Workers Union, I lost a lot of benefits, my pension and income when I got hurt and he made sure I understood how I could recover what I had lost. He and his team have been a Godsend to me and my family, and I am so glad that I chose him to represent us. Luke Rosa, Bronx, New York
My experience with Jesse Minc's firm was very rewarding. I personally dealt with Jesse Minc, who was a class act as my lawyer. He was always on call with any questions or help I needed in the process of my lawsuit. Jesse recovered a high six figure sum for a slip and fall accident I endured. He got the case settled in a reasonable time. If you are in need of lawyers for a lawsuit in New York City I highly recommend Jesse Minc's firm, they got me a very high settlement and were there for me personally every step of the way. Thanks to all the lawyers and staff. Salvador Ruiz, Brooklyn, New York
When I got hurt on a construction site and could not work anymore, one of my brothers from the Concrete Workers Local 6A union recommended Jesse Minc to be my lawyer and I am very happy I picked him to represent me. He really does have the human touch that a lot of lawyers lack. I would recommend Jesse Minc to anyone injured in a construction accident because he will fight to the end of the earth for his clients. Joseph Toro, Bronx, New York