In certain types of accident cases here in New York we look to see whether the accident was foreseeable.

Was the event that precipitated the incident foreseeable? Foreseeability plays an important part in evaluating who is responsible for your injury.

In a trip and fall case where you trip over a broken stair, we look to see how long this condition existed before your accident. If it was a condition that existed for a considerable period of time before your accident, we might be able to prove that the accident was foreseeable and that the owner of the property should have taken steps to fix and correct the damaged property.

If the accident was foreseeable and the owner failed to take the necessary steps to timely fix the problem, then he might be held accountable for the injuries that arose from that defective staircase.

What if instead, there is a broken sidewalk in front of a home?

What if you walk by that broken sidewalk every day and it is clear that this has existed for many months? One day while walking by, you forgot that there was an uneven sidewalk and you catch your foot on the raised portion of the sidewalk causing you to fall and break your leg.

Is it foreseeable that someone would trip and fall when there is a defective and raised sidewalk that has existed for many months? The answer would appear to be “Yes.” Depending on who owns the property, they may have an obligation and responsibility to have noticed the defect and take steps to fix it before someone actually got hurt.

If a property owner can raise the argument that the injury was clearly not foreseeable and they had no notice about the defective condition on the property, they may be able to escape liability despite the fact that you suffered a significant injury.

Here's another example:

Let's say somebody has five alcoholic drinks and then gets in his car to drive home. Is it foreseeable that when the driver begins his drive home that he is much more likely to get in an accident than someone who didn't have any alcohol?


If you have legal questions about your particular matter, then I encourage you to give me a call. I answer legal questions like yours every day and I welcome your call. You can reach me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected]


Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer