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Determining liability for outdoor restaurant seating accidents

Navigating the bustling sidewalks of New York can sometimes be challenging. The situation becomes even more complex with the increasing popularity of outdoor seating arrangements by restaurants, which can potentially create obstructions.

When an accident occurs, such as a pedestrian tripping over the outside seating, the question of liability arises.

Role of the city municipality

New York City has specific regulations that govern the use of public sidewalks for restaurant seating. Restaurants must obtain a permit for outdoor seating that encroaches on public space. The city is responsible for establishing the rules and regulations concerning sidewalk usage and ensuring that permit holders adhere to these guidelines.

Responsibility of the restaurant owner

Restaurant owners, on the other hand, have a duty to ensure that their outdoor seating arrangements do not pose a danger to pedestrians. This includes maintaining clear and safe pathways and adhering to the stipulations of their permit. They should also prominently display any necessary warning signs to alert pedestrians of the seating area. If a restaurant fails to meet these standards and an accident occurs, the restaurant owner may be responsible.

Grey areas

However, some cases may not be as straightforward. For instance, if the pedestrian was not paying attention or ignoring safety signs, they might share some of the responsibility for the accident. In such scenarios, New York applies the rule of comparative negligence, where parties share the fault based on their degree of negligence.

Ultimately, maintaining safety on New York City’s sidewalks is a shared responsibility. It is important for all parties to be aware of their roles and responsibilities to ensure safety and prevent accidents on the busy sidewalks of the city.

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