Question

When is a property owner responsible for my injuries in New York?

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Craig D. Rosenbaum - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Craig D. Rosenbaum

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, PC
New York, NY
Phone: 212-514-5007
Fax: 212-514-9178

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If you are injured in a slip or trip and fall in New York, you should identify the reason that you tripped or slipped. Once you have identified the hazard, you will need to determine who is responsible for your injuries. The property owner may be responsible if they knew or should have known of the hazard. There are also other parties who may be at fault such as tenants, utility companies and landlords. You only have three years from the date of accident to sue the responsible owner and seek compensation. There are many variables to premises liability cases, and an experienced attorney can help you to navigate through the legal system.

Identify The Reason For The Fall

In some cases, it is obvious what caused a slip or trip and fall. In others, it may take further scrutiny. Common hazards that cause slip/trip-and-fall injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Icy sidewalks and parking lots
  • Uneven flooring
  • Debris
  • Wet floors
  • Poor lighting
  • Unmarked hazard
  • Ceiling collapse
  • Hot water burns

Once you have identified the cause, it can be important to document the scene, including taking photographs and taking down contact information of any witnesses.

Know The Parties Who May Be At Fault

The next step is evaluating whether the property owner knew or should have known of the hazard or dangerous condition. While this can be difficult to prove, it is certainly not impossible. Certain types of evidence can be used to prove fault, including surveillance footage, maintenance logs, city inspection reports, witness statements, photographs and other documentation. An attorney can help to preserve and collect evidence from the onset.

There are various parties who can be held responsible for slip/trip-and-fall accidents aside from the property owner. Other parties who may be responsible for your injuries include:

  • Construction Companies
  • The City of New York, or other Municipality
  • Residential and Commercial Landlords or Tenants
  • Merchants or Business Owners
  • Utility Companies
  • Building Management and Maintenance Companies

A skilled attorney will assess your individual case to file a suit against the appropriate individual, company or government entity. It is also important to be aware of New York’s comparative fault laws. In certain situations, the injured party may be found to be partially at fault. Instances in which shared fault may be applied include the presence of cones or posted notices of the hazard, failure to pay attention or trespassing. A lawyer can explain shared fault in greater detail and if it applies to your individual case.

Determine If You Are Within The Statute Of Limitations

The clock starts ticking from the date of your accident. While you have three years to file a claim, waiting to do so can make it more challenging to win your case. The sooner you file a lawsuit the sooner you can fight for benefits and compensation. You may also need to file a lawsuit against a government entity. New York City Transit Authority and the City of New York are examples of entities that can be sued for slip-and-fall injuries in certain cases. In cases involving the City of New York or other city agencies, you have one year and ninety days to file a lawsuit. In addition, a notice of claim must be filed within ninety days of the date of the accident. 

Contact A Lawyer

It is not always immediately obvious who is at fault for your injuries. An investigation may be necessary to find out who is responsible for the fall. An attorney can expedite the investigation process and fight for compensation. In addition, a lawyer can communicate with the insurance company. Do not make any statements if you are contacted, and inform your attorney right away so they can step in. Any information you provide the insurance company may give them reason to deny you of benefits.

Do not wait to start the investigation and search for a qualified attorney. The sooner you start the process the better chance you have at meeting filing deadlines and holding the property owner accountable.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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