New York Personal Injury Attorneys
New York City Premises Liability Lawyer
Property owners have a responsibility to properly manage, supervise and operate their property to protect others from unnecessary risk of harm. When property owners fail to act responsibly and cause injury to others, they may be held liable for their negligence.
Some common types of premises liability cases include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Fall object accidents
- Injuries from fires, explosions and electrocution
- Collapsed decks, balconies and structures
- Elevator accidents
- Stairwell falls
- Swimming pool accidents
- Sidewalk accidents
- Other accidents caused by dangerous property conditions
Duty of Care to Visitors
Every property owner has a duty of care to the people who visit their properties. However, this obligation does not extend to everyone who enters private property. The law recognizes three categories of visitors, and property owners have different obligations to them. These include:
- An invitee is someone that has either the express or implied permission from a property owner to enter a property. Invitees typically include people like neighbors, friends, and family. Property owners have a duty of care to prevent injuries to invitees. This may require addressing known issues on the property or warning invitees of dangerous conditions if they are likely to encounter them while visiting the property.
- A licensee is someone who has the property owner’s express or implied permission to enter a property for his or her own purposes. Licensees generally include people like sales representatives and utility workers. A property owner has a lesser duty of care to licensees but must warn them of any dangerous conditions on the property if the licensees are likely to discover them while on the property.
- Generally, property owners do not owe any duty of care to trespassers on their properties. For example, a person breaks into a home with the intent of committing robbery. The fall through a partially renovated but incomplete section of floor. The trespasser would not have grounds for a lawsuit against the property owner. The only exception to the rule for trespassers would be children. A wandering child does not have the same level of awareness as an adult. If a property owner has any reason to believe that a neighbor’s child or another child may wander onto the property, the owner should take care to prevent injuries if the child is likely to encounter a dangerous condition on the property.
It’s important to note that some property owners must take extra care to account for “attractive nuisances.” These are elements of their property that a passing child may find too irresistible to ignore. Some examples may include a large tree that looks perfect for climbing or a swimming pool without a fence. If a property owner has anything that may qualify as an attractive nuisance, the property owner should take reasonable care to prevent children from investigating it or sustaining any injuries.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls
The most common type of injury that may lead to a premises liability lawsuit is a slip and fall injury. These injuries may result from:
- Wet or slippery surfaces
- Broken staircase or loose stairway safety rails
- Excessive ice buildup
- Trips over objects
- Uneven concrete
- Damaged flooring
While a “slip and fall” may not sound like a serious injury at first, these injuries are the leading cause of missed days of work and account for over one million emergency room visits in the United States each year. Falls are especially dangerous for individuals over the age of 65. A slip and fall accident can lead to broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, cuts, bruises, and a host of other possible injuries.
Property owners are not responsible for all accidents that occur on their property. They are expected, however, to exercise reasonable caution for the safety of others. Property owners must take care to properly operate, supervise and manage their property to protect others from unnecessary risk of harm.
New York Laws for Premises Liability Lawsuits
Every state has unique laws pertaining to different types of lawsuits and the rights of plaintiffs. It’s essential for plaintiffs to meet the necessary statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after an injury. In New York, the statute of limitations for premises liability claims is three years starting on the date of the injury. However, some factors may “toll” or delay the statute of limitations. An experienced New York premises liability attorney can advise an injured victim of how the statute of limitations will apply in his or her case.
New York also follows a comparative negligence law, which means a plaintiff may absorb some measure of fault for his or her own damages if the jury finds the plaintiff partially responsible for the incident in question. For example, the jury reviewing a $50,000 premises liability claim finds the plaintiff 40% at fault for the incident. The plaintiff’s fault percentage does not exceed the defendant’s, so the plaintiff may still secure compensation. However, the plaintiff would lose 40% of the case award to reflect his or her fault percentage for the incident, resulting in a net total of $30,000 instead.
Damages and Compensation in Premises Liability Lawsuits
The plaintiff in a premises liability lawsuit can secure several types of compensation from a successful claim, including:
- Medical expenses. The plaintiff can claim compensation for all immediate and future medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s negligence. This may include hospital bills, emergency medical transportation fees, prescription costs, and any costs for ongoing care like physical therapy.
- Lost income. If a plaintiff’s injuries prevent him or her from working during recovery, he or she may sue for the wages lost during that time. If a defendant’s negligence resulted in a catastrophic injury that prevents the plaintiff from ever working again, the plaintiff’s attorney may call on a financial expert witness to provide the jury with an accurate picture of the plaintiff’s lost future earnings.
- Pain and suffering. Severe injuries can cause extreme physical pain and may result in permanent disability. A plaintiff in a premises liability lawsuit can claim compensation for physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress resulting from the defendant’s negligence.
To succeed with a premises liability claim, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in his or her care or maintenance of the property or failed to adequately warn the plaintiff of the dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must prove that the property owner knew about the dangerous condition but failed to address it or failed to adequately address the problem.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer
Our lawyers have handled thousands of premises liability cases and have extensive experience in slip and fall claims. As a result of our vast experience, we know how to determine when property owners have been negligent. We know what questions to ask, what evidence to seek, how to investigate the cause of accidents, how to properly gather evidence, and how to build strong cases for our clients.
We understand that many accident victims sustain serious injuries. Such injuries may include broken bones, head trauma, back and neck injuries, and even paralysis. In the most severe cases, slip and fall accidents may cause fatal injuries.
If retained to handle your case, we will work diligently to seek the full compensation you are entitled to receive. We understand that you may be experiencing significant medical, financial and personal challenges at this difficult time. As one of New York’s most distinguished firms, we are prepared to provide the skilled advocacy and superior client service you require. Use the form below to reach out to us today.