Is the state liable for roadways that are unsafe for pedestrians?
New York is a very busy city with a lot of traffic, both vehicle and pedestrian. This can lead to many accidents involving those on foot. You have probably been in a situation where it is difficult to cross the roadway due to speeding traffic. In a case like this, it is highly likely that you could get injured. If you do get injured, can you hold the city accountable?
According to StreetsBlog NYC, the answer is yes thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling. The Court decided that it is allowable for judges to order the city liable for a portion of injuries sustained in an accident if proper safety devices are not in place or measures are not taken to ensure the safety of foot traffic. Specifically, the Court ruled that the city is responsible for redesigning streets that have a history of accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists.
Safety measures would involve things like installing raised crosswalks or narrowing wide streets that would slow down traffic and prevent excessive speeding. If the city is aware that the design of the roadway is conductive to speeding or other reckless driving, such as those with wide, open lanes, then it has the responsibility to its citizens to make it safer. This makes the Department of Transportation responsible for ensuring that dangerous roadways are addressed quickly without lingering in debate as has been the situation in the past. This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.