In New York State, property owners have an obligation to exercise a reasonable amount of care to maintain safe conditions on their property and to prevent injuries to persons who are expected to visit that property. This obligation is the starting point for determining a property owner’s liability and to compensate someone who is injured as a result of a slip and fall accident on the property. Although this obligation seems relatively straightforward, the resolution of a slip and fall accident case is rarely simple.
The personal injury attorneys at Manhattan’s Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green have successfully represented individuals in slip and fall accident cases for more than fifty years. We have seen some form of the following three liability issues in almost every slip and fall negligence case we have worked on.
Was the Injured Party a Guest or a Trespasser on the Property?
Property owners make an implied promise to guests and other persons who are invited or expected to visit their premises that the owners have taken reasonable steps to assure that the property is safe. Those steps include clearing away snow or ice, fixing cracks in walkways, and removing debris that can cause a visitor to trip and suffer an injury. Persons who are trespassing on a property do not receive this implied promise. In determining whether a property owner is liable for a slip and fall injury, determining whether the injured person was an authorized or expected guest, or was a trespasser, will be a critical issue.
Was the Injured Party Partially Responsible for His or Her Slip and Fall Injuries?
New York State applies pure comparative negligence rules to apportion liability in slip and fall cases. The damages that a property owner or its insurer owe to an injured party will be reduced in direct proportion to the injured party’s own responsibility for the accident. If, for example, the injured party was intoxicated, or was paying more attention to a mobile phone than to the property’s terrain, that party might lose a portion of the total damages that he or she might otherwise have recovered in a slip and fall lawsuit.
Was the Property Owner Aware of the Unsafe Condition that Caused the Slip and Fall Accident?
Property owners are generally responsible for staying aware of the conditions of their premises to confirm that no unsafe conditions are present, but there are limits on those responsibilities. A property owner is charged with repairing or warning of dangerous conditions that can be reasonably foreseen, for example, but the owner has a lesser obligation with respect to unforeseeable dangers. In almost every slip and fall negligence case, the specific circumstances of the dangerous condition will be a critical element in assessing a property owner’s liability for an injured party’s damages.
Other Slip and Fall Accident Case Issues
Slip and fall accident cases are not limited to these three liability issues. Other matters for consideration include:
- A slip and fall lawsuit case must be filed within three years of the incident that caused the injury to meet the deadline requirements of New York State’s statute of limitations.
- If the property owner is a landlord that leased the premises to another party, the landlord will generally not be liable for a tenant’s or other person’s injuries that are caused by a property condition unless the landlord was aware of the unsafe condition or maintained some level of control over the property.
- Property owners owe a special duty to children under “attractive nuisance” considerations.
- Owners and visitors are charged with using the property in an appropriate manner at the time of the accident.
Contact the Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green
If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or Long Island, do not hesitate to call the experienced slip and fall accident attorneys at the law offices of Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. We will analyze all of the liability issues that surround your accident and we will fight to get you the largest available damages award to compensate you for your injuries.
- FindLaw, New York Consolidated Laws, General Obligations Law – GOB § 9-103. No duty to keep premises safe for certain uses; responsibility for acts of such users, https://codes.findlaw.com/ny/general-obligations-law/gob-sect-9-103.html
- NY State Bar Association, http://www.nysba.org/PremisesLiability/