46 THE QUEENS COURIER • QUEENS BUSINESS • OCTOBER 11, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Q: Yesterday, as my friend was walking on the sidewalk, her foot
became caught in a gap between two cellar doors that were embedded into the
sidewalk. This caused Jill to fall to the ground. The fall broke both bones in
her ankle, and ripped all her tendons and ligaments.
A: A gap is something that defendants often will claim was ‘trivial’,
contending that the gap was physically insignificant and that the characteristics
of the gap and the surrounding circumstances did not overcome this
In truth, there is no minimal dimension test or ‘per se’ rule that the
condition must be of a certain height or depth in order to be actionable.
Physically small defects may be actionable when their surrounding circumstances
or intrinsic characteristics make them (a) difficult for a pedestrian to
see or to identify as hazards or (b) difficult to traverse safely on foot.
No matter what the accident, the victim’s attorney will always
appreciate photographs – taken as close in time to the accident as possible. If
you don’t already have photos, please go out and take them immediately,
before the cellar doors get repaired (though that need not be fatal). Some of
the photos should show both the area around the cellar doors, and some
should show the gap itself. Alongside the gap, it may be wise to place a tape
Certainly, your friend’s attorney can take photos down the line, if
need be. But this possibility does not dispel the help that you can give by
taking the photos even before she seeks counsel.
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