Payouts for sidewalk lawsuits totaled $68.2 million, for an average $30,637 for the 2,226 cases awarded in the last fiscal year. That compared to $71.6 million for 2,581 cases, an average of $27,741, for the previous fiscal year, the New York Daily News reported Saturday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed the city council to approve a law in 2003 making it harder for slip-and-fall claimants to sue the city, by shifting the prime liability to property owners -- with an exception for smaller homeowners -- the News said.
However, the law only covers claims made after Sept. 14, 2003. Since most claims take up to four years to reach disposition, City Controller William Thompson said there should be a big reduction in costs once the old cases are cleared.