In a New York slip and fall case, negligence is a breach of duty, usually by the property owner or tenant, that leads to a slip and fall injury. A property owner or occupier has the duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that their premises is free from dangers that could hurt guests or provide adequate warning about the presence of any hazards. This is known as the “duty of care”; showing that a defendant breached the duty of care is a necessary element to recover compensation.

Caution: Slip & fall hazard sign in a building stairwell

A property owner is not legally responsible for every slip and fall that occurs on his or her property. Rather, the injured party must prove that negligence. Since negligence requires that a defendant acted unreasonably, it can be very fact-specific; an action or inaction may constitute negligence in one case but not in another. While this may seem confusing, a New York slip and fall lawyer can help. Call today to schedule a consultation to discuss your injury and your options for compensation.

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Who can be negligent in a slip and fall case?

Anyone responsible for a condition that led to a fall may potentially be a negligent party. Most often this is the property owner, a tenant, or someone acting on their behalf. However, it can also include the injured party. However, if you shared the blame for your slip and fall injury, this will not necessarily prevent you from recovering compensation.

A negligent slip and fall victim may recover damages

New York is one of roughly a dozen states that follow a law known as “pure comparative fault.” This allows an injured individual to recover damages if they were partly to blame – even if they bore 99% of the fault. However, the injured party’s financial recovery is to be reduced in proportion to their degree of blame.

Understandably, there is a financial incentive for a slip and fall defendant to point the blame at the injured plaintiff in an attempt to reduce his liability. They may allege that the injured party was being careless at the time of the fall or knowingly assumed the risk of injury by entering an area containing a hazard. Personal injury lawyers are accustomed to this tactic and you can trust that your attorney will pursue the kind of evidence in slip and fall cases that will maximize your compensation.

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Proving negligence in a slip and fall case

To win a slip and fall case, a plaintiff must be able to point to evidence of each of the legal requirements of negligence, which require a showing that:

  • The defendant was legally responsible for the condition of the property;
  • The property had a dangerous condition;
  • The defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition;
  • The condition was present long enough that the defendant could have fixed it before the slip and fall accident;
  • The defendant failed to fix the dangerous condition; and
  • The dangerous condition was the cause of the slip and fall injury

Since the party alleging negligence has the burden of proof, it would be the responsibility of the defendant to prove that the injured party was negligent if that defense is raised.

If you have been injured in a fall, be sure to document as much of the incident as possible. Take photographs, ask witnesses for the contact information, and save all documentation of your injury. These will help establish your case of negligence against the property owner.

Speak with an NYC slip and fall attorney

A slip and fall can lead to a stack of medical bills, along with physical injuries and emotional pain. Proving an at-fault party’s negligence in a personal injury lawsuit can provide the resources that allow you to meet some of those needs. Speak with a personal injury attorney in New York City at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. We are here to assist in any way we can. Contact us today to schedule a free confidential consultation.