Millions of people live in residential properties that are overseen and managed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Because these buildings aren’t technically private, it can be tough to know whether you can sue the NYCHA for getting injured.
Questions of liability can delay legal action and make it tough to recover the compensation you are entitled to. Read on to discover more, or get in touch with Schwartzapfel Lawyers today online or at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation.
What Is The New York City Housing Authority?
The NYCHA is the single largest public Housing Authority in North America. It was originally formed in 1935 to provide affordable and quality housing for low to moderate-income New York residents.
At the time of this writing, the NYCHA is home to approximately 1 in 17 New Yorkers, offering affordable housing to over 500,000 authorized residents. Thanks to programs like the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program and Section 8 housing laws, the NYCHA currently oversees over 170,000 apartments in over 2,400 buildings across 330 public housing developments.
If you or a loved one resides in an NYCHA-owned or managed property, and you are injured while on that property because of no fault of your own, you could have grounds for a successful lawsuit.
Can You Sue The New York City Housing Authority For Injuries?
While the NYCHA does provide affordable housing to hundreds of thousands of residents, many of those buildings are not maintained or managed properly. Premises liability laws in New York require that all property owners and landlords have to keep properties free of hazards that could cause injuries or harm. This includes the NYCHA.
Therefore, you may be able to successfully sue the NYCHA for injuries if:
- The NYCHA is held liable for injuries you sustained while on their properties
- You were not responsible for the injuries to any significant extent
What Happens If A Private Company Maintains Your Residential Building?
The NYCHA doesn’t always maintain, repair, or manage properties that are technically under the affordable housing program. Through privatization, private companies may take on these responsibilities instead while keeping the NYCHA as the official owner of those properties.
If you or a loved one is injured because a private company hired by the NYCHA did not maintain or repair a property properly, responsibility and liability for those injuries can be held by either the private company or the NYCHA. It depends on the exact agreement and contract between the two organizations.
Generally, if the injury was because of the negligence or breach of contract of a private company, the private company will probably be responsible for damages. If the injury occurred because of a factor or hazard that existed prior to the private company taking control, the NYCHA might be held liable for damages instead.
Premises Liability Accidents In NYC Public Housing
If you are injured while residing in NYC public housing, you may have grounds for a premises liability accident. Premises liability provides that:
- A building owner or manager has a duty to maintain safe, accessible premises for tenants or guests
- If the building owner or manager doesn’t that attend to that duty responsibly, and if that negligence leads to injuries, they may be held liable for damages
Some examples of premises liability accidents that may occur in NYCHA-owned housing include but are not limited to:
- Broken staircases, which can cause someone to trip, slip, and/or fall and sustain injuries
- Improperly maintained sidewalks, which can also cause trip and fall accidents
- Defective elevators, which can lead to electrocutions and burn injuries, free falls, and other serious incidents
- Low or nonexistent security, which may lead to encounters with criminals or other dangerous individuals
- Ceiling collapses, which can endanger residents and lead to broken bones, traumatic brain injuries like concussions, and more
- Liquid or debris on the stairs, which can cause slip and fall accidents
Broken bones, spinal damage, lacerations, paralysis, and even loss of life are all possible damages in the realm of premises liability accidents. That’s why if you or a loved one has experienced any of these incidents, you should not hesitate to reach out to Schwartzapfel Lawyers today either online or by calling 516-342-2200 to learn more about your legal options.
Requirements To Sue The NYCHA
While you can file a complaint with the NYCHA, suing them might be the only way to get monetary support for medical bills and other expenses. Since the NYCHA isn’t a private organization, you first must give the organization a Notice of Claim.
A Notice of Claim is essentially proper legal notice that you intend to sue the city within a certain amount of time and for a specific incident. In New York, you have to give the NYCHA a Notice of Claim within (90) days of the incident’s occurrence. You should serve the Notice of Claim to the New York City Comptroller’s Office in person, by registered mail, or electronically using the eClaim system.
Once you do that, wait (30) days for the NYCHA to investigate the matter and respond. It’s quite likely that if you have grounds for a lawsuit, the NYCHA will likely offer you a settlement rather than taking the matter to court. Depending on what your attorneys say, you may wish to accept a settlement based on its amount, the projected timeline for a full lawsuit, and other factors.
After the (30)-day timeframe has passed, you can decide whether to accept the settlement (if they send you any) or whether to go forward with your lawsuit. If the NYCHA did not send you a settlement offer or reply to your Notice of Claim whatsoever, you can still move forward with a lawsuit process.
Successfully Suing The NYCHA
To successfully sue the NYCHA for getting hurt on one of their properties, you must prove liability and gather evidence of negligence on behalf of the Housing Authority. To do this, you’ll likely need to collect evidence such as:
- Video and photographic evidence, such as photos of the scene of the accident, video footage from your door camera, or elsewhere.
- Bills of your hospital fees and other expenses, which can prove that you were injured and that you require financial assistance.
- Pay stubs if you wish to show evidence that you missed work because of your injuries.
- Complaints made to the NYCHA about a hazard that led to your injury. This could be enormously beneficial, as it may show that the NYCHA had adequate warning to fix the problem but chose not to do so.
Depending on the evidence you gather, the court may ascribe most or even all of the blame for the incident to the NYCHA. If this happens, your lawsuit will probably be successful, and you could recover significant compensation.
Damages From An NYCHA Lawsuit
If your NYCHA lawsuit is successful, you could recover damages for a variety of accident-related expenses, not limited to:
- The past and future medical fees and bills related to the incident, including those for medication, physical therapy, surgeries, and so on
- Pain and suffering compensation for the emotional and physical difficulties you had to endure
- Financial compensation for lost income if you spent time away from work to recover from your injuries
- Financial compensation for loss of ability if your injuries lead to permanent disability and/or disfigurement
With all that in mind, the exact damages you’ll receive will depend on the strength of your legal team, the evidence you’ve collected, and whether pure comparative negligence applies. Note: Pure comparative negligence is a legal framework that states both the victim and the primary perpetrator of an accident can be partially responsible for any injuries.
As well, if the court uses pure comparative negligence for your case, your total damage award could be reduced by a certain percentage. For instance, if you are found to be 40% liable or responsible for your own injuries, whatever damage award you received from the court will likely be reduced by approximately 40%.
This is just another reason why you should have effective, experienced attorneys on your side to bolster your case and minimize this possibility.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
If you’re unsure whether you should sue the NYCHA for premises liability, don’t wait for your financial recovery window to close. Instead, act now and speak with Schwartzapfel Lawyers’ award-winning team right away. Our knowledgeable lawyers are well-equipped and ready to handle your case, as we’ve helped hundreds of New Yorkers just like you recover monetary damages to pay for medical bills and more.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!