About New York Slip and Fall Accidents
Some of the common types of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents in New York City include:
- Wet and slippery floors
- Sidewalk and parking lot accidents
- Accidents in cluttered stores
- Elevator and escalator accidents
In a situation where a person is injured in a slip and fall, the property owner may be liable if:
- He or she caused the unsafe condition, such as spilling liquid and not mopping it up.
- He or she knew about the dangerous condition but did not take steps to correct it.
- He or she should have known about the hazard because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered and corrected the dangerous condition.
What to Do After a Fall & When to Hire Slip and Fall Lawyers in NYC
More than a million people each year visit emergency rooms in the United States because of falls. Some fall victims have minor injuries like cuts or bruises, while others break hips, suffer concussions or even damage their spinal cord. Falls can even be fatal.
If you are hurt in a fall on someone else’s property in New York City, the law may give you the right to make a claim against the person or company that owns or controls the property.
Whether you fell on public property, in a private home or in a business such as a store or restaurant, there are some important actions to take after a fall accident:
- Get medical help right away. You should see a doctor or go to a hospital immediately after a fall. Not only do you need to get your injuries checked out and treated, but you also need medical records showing the extent of the damage and injuries caused by the fall. Some major injuries (for example, a traumatic brain injury) show few immediate symptoms. Timely medical care and diagnosis could save your life. Evidence of the extent of your injuries will also be valuable when you pursue a fall injury claim.
- Report the accident immediately. You need to alert the person or company in charge of the property as soon as the accident happens. This means telling the homeowner whose house you were in, calling the landlord or alerting the manager at a business. If the injury happened at a business or in an apartment, the storeowner or landlord should make a formal accident report, and you should ask for a copy. If you need to leave the accident scene for medical treatment, be sure to call back later to get an accident report.
- Be careful what you say after the accident. Whether you are dealing with a homeowner, a landlord or a business manager, you should avoid getting emotional, casting blame, admitting guilt or arguing about how and why you fell. You don’t want to say anything that could be used to undermine your potential claim for compensation. You also don’t want the situation to escalate into an argument. Simply report the facts of your injury in a straightforward way.
- Get witness contact information. You should obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. These witnesses can back up your story if the property owner tells a different version of events in an effort to escape liability for your fall injuries.
- Take pictures. Be sure to take detailed photographs of the location where you fell, as well as any conditions that contributed to causing the fall (a broken tile or puddle of spilled liquid, for example). Try to ensure the pictures are time-stamped so it is clear exactly what the conditions were at the time of your accident. For example, if a homeowner clears the snow from a driveway and salts it an hour after your accident, it could become more difficult to prove that it was slippery and unsafe at the time of the fall.
- Keep and preserve the clothes and shoes you were wearing. These can be useful evidence to show that the fall was caused by the negligence of the property owner.
- Call a lawyer. You should contact a New York slip and fall attorney as soon as you can after you have suffered a fall injury or other accident caused by negligence. A NYC premises liability attorney can help you to get started gathering evidence before it disappears, and can also make sure you don’t answer questions unnecessarily or say anything that you should not. It is especially important to consult with an attorney before you sign anything or negotiate with the insurance company that covers the property owner. Insurers focus on their own profits rather than on providing you full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Do I Have a Case to Take to a New York Slip and Fall Lawyer?
If you have been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, New York law may entitle you to compensation if your accident was caused by negligent maintenance or failure to correct or warn about a hazard. It is essential to understand whether your accident gives rise to a fall injury case, as you must take action to obtain compensation for your losses.
Determining whether you have a valid fall case requires an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as an understanding of negligence laws in New York.
At slip and fall lawyers NYC at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., our attorneys have years of experience and the legal knowledge necessary to help you pursue a claim. Our attorneys can answer questions such as:
- Do you have a claim for a slip and fall?
- Who do you have a claim against?
- What can you expect when you make a slip and fall injury claim?
Elements of a Successful Fall Claim in New York City
To make a successful claim for a fall accident, the claimant has the burden of proving:
- The defendant was negligent or failed to live up to a basic obligation to ensure safe conditions on his or her property.
- The defendant’s negligence was the direct cause of the fall.
- The fall caused your injuries, and you suffered losses because of them.
It is important to review the circumstances of the fall. If the property owner’s negligence was a cause of your fall injuries and you can prove it, then you may have a claim.
The property owner’s negligence is determined by an assessment of whether the owner fell short of the duties owed to guests. Property owners who invite guests to commercial spaces (such as stores and restaurants) have an obligation to inspect their properties regularly and either correct dangerous conditions or warn patrons of them.
Property owners who invite casual guests such as friends and neighbors into their homes also have an obligation to warn of dangers or correct them. However, they do not need to inspect their premises.
To make a claim, you will need some proof that the defendant failed to live up to these obligations. The evidence could include such things as maintenance records, photos showing dangerous conditions or witness testimony about hazards.
A NYC personal injury attorney can also tap into a network of expert witnesses who can explain to a jury how the fall was the result of the defendant’s negligence.
Examples of Potential Defendants in Fall Cases
You may make a claim against a property owner whose negligence caused your fall. Other situations include:
- If an individual or business was renting a property and assumed the control and responsibility for that property, you may have a claim against the renter if that party’s negligence caused the fall.
- If the injury occurred in an apartment, your claim may be against the landlord if the injury happened in common spaces. Your claim may be against the tenant if your injury occurred because of unsafe conditions the renter created within the apartment.
Injuries on public property, such as on dangerous sidewalks, can also give rise to a claim against the government entity responsible for maintenance. However, suing the government is more challenging because of limited governmental immunity protections.
An attorney in New York City who focuses on premise liability cases like can assist in determining who you might have a claim against.
What to Expect When Making a Slip and Fall Claim
When you contact a slip and fall attorney in New York to make your claim, you must prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence. If you present sufficient evidence the defendant is liable, you may be awarded compensation in a jury trial.
Many slip and fall cases are resolved out of court, which means a negotiated settlement is reached between the defendant (or insurance company) and the victim. The settlement should provide full and fair compensation. You should not accept a settlement or sign paperwork until an attorney has reviewed the documents to ensure you are being adequately compensated for all your losses.
Whether you settle a case or pursue it in court, David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can help every step of the way.
Filing a Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit in New York City
Filing a lawsuit may be necessary to obtain compensation when a property owner causes fall injuries by negligently failing to maintain a property.
To file a claim in New York, you must submit your claim to the appropriate court. This is something often handled by your slip and fall lawyer in New York.
It is essential to state the facts of what occurred and to provide legal grounds for your claim. In a slip and fall case, you must assert that you suffered fall injuries because the property owner, renter or other responsible party unreasonably failed to correct hazardous conditions or failed to warn about them.
You must be able to prove the allegations made in your complaint when your case goes to court. If you have insufficient evidence of any aspects of your slip and fall claim, the defendant could get the case dismissed or prevail and be found not liable in a civil trial.
Begin gathering evidence as soon as possible after your fall, including medical records, witness statements and photos from the area where the accident took place.
Businessman Slipping on Wet Floor
Steps in the Process of Pursuing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
After you have filed a slip and fall lawsuit:
- The defendant will have the opportunity to address the allegations. The defendant’s answer to the court may provide a different story about how the fall occurred and legal arguments demonstrating why the defendant does not believe he or she is liable.
- The pre-trial process will occur. You and the defendant both have an opportunity to interview witnesses and gather evidence. You must be prepared to meet your burden of proving that the property owner’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. To do so, you may need to subpoena witnesses, obtain maintenance records from the property owner and consult expert witnesses to testify about how the property owner failed to fulfill obligations to visitors.
- The case will go to trial. You must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property owner failed to live up to the duty to either make the property reasonably safe for you or warn you about dangers. The specific standard of care the property owner is held to varies depending upon why you were on the property, but the key in any case is to show the property owner’s acts or omissions were not reasonable or acceptable.
- The jury will reach a verdict. If the jury finds in your favor, it may award compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages.
- The verdict may be appealed if the outcome of the case is unsatisfactory. An appeal will center on whether there were any mistakes made when applying the law in the original trial.
Throughout the process, all evidence must follow court rules and all documents submitted to the court must be in the correct format and include relevant legal documentation. A New York City slip and fall lawyer at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can assist with all steps of the process.
Settling a Fall Case Without Going to Court
Many cases are settled out of court. A settlement may be possible in a slip and fall case if the defendant or defendant’s insurer makes a reasonable offer that you believe is fair compensation for your losses. You must ensure the compensation is sufficient, as you cannot change your mind after settling.
You do not need to delay filing a civil suit because of settlement negotiations, as negotiations can continue up to the time when the jury delivers its verdict. It is common for a defendant and plaintiff in a slip and fall case to continue negotiations even as a civil lawsuit moves forward in court.
Whether you wish to settle or you want your day in court, David Resnick & Associates, P.C., is here for you. We are experienced negotiators and skilled litigators. We will do everything possible to get the maximum compensation for your fall injuries. Call or contact us online today to learn more.