New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Injury Claims Lawyers
Established in 1935, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides affordable housing to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from mid to low-income economic situations. Unfortunately, carelessness and neglect in NYCHA buildings have resulted in numerous premises liability accidents in recent years.
In New York, premises liability law dictates that property owners and landlords must keep their properties free of hazards that could potentially cause someone harm. NYCHA could be responsible and held accountable if their negligence or recklessness leads to an injury.
If you were injured on NYCHA property, you could pursue a premises liability claim against the city. You could obtain compensation for injuries you suffered and losses you’ve incurred through a premises liability claim, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
If you suffered an injury from the NYCHA’s negligence, contact the New York City premises liability attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP for a free consultation.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents in NYC Public Housing
While accidents can occur in NYC public housing properties for any reason, one of the most common reasons is negligence on the part of the NYCHA. In recent years, the NYCHA’s carelessness has led to numerous reports of injuries caused by hazardous conditions, a failure to conduct regular maintenance, and a failure to perform essential repairs. If the city had upheld its duty of care to ensure that its properties were safe for residents and visitors, many of the accidents that have been reported could probably have been avoided.
Some of the common types of premises liability accidents that have occurred in NYC public housing include:
- Defective elevators – Failure to properly maintain elevators or misleveling of elevator doors in NYCHA properties can lead to dangerous elevator accidents, including free falls and electrocutions.
- Broken staircases – Broken staircases can easily cause someone to trip. If the injured victim tumbles down the stairs, they could seriously injure themselves.
- Poorly maintained sidewalks – Like broken staircases, badly maintained walkways and parking areas can also contribute to trip and fall accidents on NYCHA property.
- Ceiling collapses – Ceiling collapses have been reported on the NYCHA property. These collapses can endanger residents in the unit where the ceiling collapses and residents on the floor above.
- Negligent security – Providing residents and visitors with a safe living environment also means providing the necessary security to deter and keep criminal trespassers out. When the city fails to secure its public housing properly, residents and guests are vulnerable to illegal activity.
- Debris or liquid on stairs – Failing to clean up debris or liquid hazards on stairways can lead to a slip-and-fall accident. While it may not sound particularly dangerous, the victim could suffer life-altering injuries if they hit their head or damage another vital body part, such as the spine.
Like any landlord in New York City, the NYCHA must eliminate any hazards that could lead to injury. If they fail to repair or warn residents of dangerous conditions that the NYCHA was aware of or should have been aware of, they can be held liable for the injured person’s financial and non-financial losses.
What Happens If a Private Company Maintains My Building?
In recent years, NYCHA has hired private companies to maintain, repair, and manage certain NYCHA properties. This practice is referred to as “privatization.” The private companies are responsible for providing maintenance, repair, and management services, while NYCHA retains ownership of the properties.
If someone is hurt due to the failure of a private company hired by NYCHA to repair or maintain a property, the responsibility and liability for the injury will depend on the specific terms of the agreement between NYCHA and the private company. In general, if the injury was due to the private company’s negligence or breach of contract, the private company may be liable for the damages. However, if the injury was due to a preexisting condition or some other factor outside of the private company’s control, NYCHA may be held responsible. Reviewing the agreement between NYCHA and the private company and the circumstances surrounding the injury would be necessary to determine the specific liability in a given case.
It might be difficult to tell if NYCHA hired a private company to manage or maintain your building. To determine if NYCHA has hired a private entity to do maintenance, you can contact NYCHA directly and ask. They should be able to provide information about which private companies manage properties and which ones are managed in-house. Additionally, you can check your lease or the building’s management office for information about the maintenance and management of the property or take notice of any companies doing work in the building. You might also receive a letter which identifies a new managing company. It is important to take note of the new entities since this can be very helpful to your attorney if you need to file an injury claim.
NYCHA Notice of Claim Requirements
Because NYCHA is a municipal entity, those with injury claims must notify the city before taking legal action. The city must be given proper legal notice within a specific period of time after the accident or injury occurred before a lawsuit can be filed. In New York, this time period is 90 days from the date of occurrence.
The 90-day claim notice can be served through the New York City Comptroller’s Office in three ways:
- By certified or registered mail
- Electronically through the eClaim system
How to Prove Liability in an NYCHA Injury Claim
To bring a successful injury claim against the NYCHA, you (or your attorney) must gather evidence of negligence. Some common types of evidence that attorneys use to prove premises liability cases include:
- Photo and video evidence – Take pictures and videos of your injuries at the accident scene if possible. You should also take pictures of the scene, including the hazard that caused your accident. Visual evidence can provide irrefutable proof of what transpired.
- Hospital bills and other expenses – To determine how much financial compensation you should demand, gathering your hospital bills and documenting any other medical expenses necessary to treat your injury will be helpful.
- Pay stubs – If you have to take time off work while recovering from your injuries, collect your pay stubs to show evidence of missed work.
- Complaints made to NYCHA – If you made any formal complaints to the NYCHA about a specific hazard that later led to your injury, it could enormously benefit your case. This kind of evidence will be difficult for the NYCHA to challenge because it will help establish that they knew about the hazardous condition.
You or your attorney will use whatever information you gather to establish that the NYCHA owed you a duty of care to prevent you from being harmed but breached that duty through negligence or recklessness. For your claim to be successful, you must also show how the NYCHA’s negligence directly caused your injuries and prove that you suffered damages.
What Damages Can I Recover Through a NYCHA Injury Claim?
Depending on the specific damages you suffered, you might be able to seek financial relief for:
- Present and future costs related to your injuries, including hospital stays, emergency care and ambulance rides, surgeries, X-rays and imaging tests, prescription medications, in-home care, and medical equipment
- Rehabilitative care costs, including physical and occupational therapy
- Lost income from time missed at your job
- Lost future income if you were disabled due to the accident and can no longer work the same job or have to be placed on light duty
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional and mental distress, and PTSD
- Lost quality of life
- Other non-financial losses
Determining the total value of your claim can be challenging without an attorney’s help. While calculating your expenses can be relatively straightforward if tedious, quantifying your non-financial damages and assigning a monetary value to your pain and suffering can be very difficult.
The last thing you want to do is settle for less than you deserve. If the NYCHA was responsible for the accident, they should be accountable for your damages. A skilled attorney can help you determine the overall value of your claim.
Contact a New York City Housing Authority Attorney
If you believe you were injured due to the NYCHA’s negligence or carelessness, contact Hach & Rose, LLP today to discuss the details of your case. We have the resources to help you collect evidence, prove liability, negotiate a settlement, and even take your case to trial if necessary. We are committed to helping victims of premises liability accidents just like you seek the financial relief they need to return to normal.