I would say number one, sidewalks.
The most common claim I see is a fall down on a sidewalk. And to be quite honest with you, it’s the most viable claim, more often than not, because in New York City you have a statute or a code that requires landowners to maintain the sidewalk adjacent to its property. This is a strong statute that creates liability.
There are countless issues that exist in NYC sidewalks; dangerous depressions, mis-leveled concrete, gaps between sidewalk “flags,” all of which are tripping hazards for pedestrians.
An entirely different type of incident that can occur on a sidewalk is a slip and fall due to snow and ice that was not properly removed after a snow fall. These are particular common in the winter months, as landlords often shirk their responsibilities and don’t shovel completely or simply fail to salt/sand.
Number two, residential buildings, what sometimes are called multiple dwellings.
There you will find issues not only with steps, staircases and in lobbies, but also inside of apartments. The unfortunate truth is that in New York City you have a lot of landlords that don’t want to give the appropriate level of attention to their residential spaces, always looking after their own bottom line instead.
Inside of these buildings you will often see problems with leaks, plumbing leaks in bathrooms and kitchens. These bathrooms are generally atop one another, so where there is a broken pipe or a leaking pipe, it can become a recurring issue. What we often find is a landlord who doesn’t want to spend the money to perform the proper plumbing repairs, but instead will just do a quick fix, replace the sheetrock, spackle and paint.
And then it’s just a circle of events. Sure, that sheetrock will hold for another two months, but over time that dripping water will again cause the same problem to happen.
Third, retail stores such as groceries and big-box stores.
There are many moving parts in a grocery store. There are customers walking up and down aisles. There are employees stocking shelves. There are employees cleaning floors and displays. Grocery stores also have a large number of refrigeration and freezer units, as well as vegetable sprayers to keep their produce fresh.
And all of these moving parts often lead to slipping hazards. Perhaps a customer spill will lead to a fall, or a freshly mopped floor without proper warning signs, or a leaking freezer unit, or a wet floor caused by the vegetable sprayers. Each of these events are common scenarios, and each of these fact patterns can support a claim.
Fourth, construction sites.
Slip and fall accidents can happen on or next to a construction site. Construction sites are chock-full of dangerous conditions, and it is not hard to imagine a tripping hazard being created on a sidewalk or roadway due to ongoing construction. A common set of facts is a dangerous temporary walkway, or a dangerous pipe or hose stretched across a pedestrian walkway that may create a problem.