NY Property Owner Responsibility
It is normal, during the course of wear and tear, for objects to fall, liquids to drip onto a floor or the ground, and for cracks and fissures to appear in sidewalks, or for previously smooth surfaces to become uneven and rough.
It is “reasonable” for an ordinary person to expect that there are things that should be avoided on sidewalks in New York City. At the same time, property owners have the duty and obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner. That includes keeping walkways free of ice, elevators and stairs in good repair, and secured premises safe from foreseeable criminal acts.
When determining if a property owner’s actions were in fact reasonable, the court must consider how long the unsafe condition that contributed to the slip and fall accident existed and whether the owner had time to discover and ultimately fix the problem. It must also consider whether the steps taken were appropriate or reasonable and whether the carelessness of the victim contributed to the slip and fall injury.
At David Resnick & Associates, P.C., we know that thousands of New Yorkers are seriously injured when they slip on slippery floors, are bitten by dogs or are exposed to dangerous chemicals. If a property owner is negligent, and that negligence causes an injury, the property owner is liable.
It is a property owner’s responsibility to be careful in keeping up his or her property. To be legally responsible for the injuries suffered by someone slipping or falling on a property, one of the following must be true:
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have caused the spill, worn, or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item, to be underfoot.
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it.
- The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
Every premises liability case is evaluated on an individual basis and considers whether the property owner took precautions to make the area safe as well as whether the victim was unreasonably careless, thereby contributing to the slip and fall accident.
Property Owner Responsibility
To learn more about property owners’ responsibilities in slip and fall cases, contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., by phone or online. We have worked with many victims of accident injuries in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and all of New York City. We understand New York’s laws on personal injury claims.
Top 10 Property Owner Responsibilities for Preventing Falls
Property owners should make regular inspections of their premises and act quickly when hazards are found. Property owners should exercise reasonable care for the safety of visitors by taking prompt responsibility for:
- Level and intact floors. Floor tiles, floorboards and carpet should be replaced if they are frayed, torn, peeling, cracked, broken, missing, loose, etc. Parking lots and sidewalks should be treated the same, with prompt repair to potholes, broken curbs, broken or missing paving stones, etc.
- Dry floors. Spills or tracked-in liquids should be mopped up and floors dried as soon as the problem is seen or reported.
- Clear aisles. Do not stack merchandise or equipment in aisles where it may become a tripping hazard.
- Prompt removal of snow and ice. New York City requires business owners and property managers to clear snow and ice from their properties in a timely manner, typically within four hours of the end of snowfall, freezing rain, sleet or other wintry precipitation.
- Warning signs at known hazards (wet floor, loose pavement). A warning sign does not substitute for taking care of a hazard, but is a proper and responsible safety measure to warn of hazards until they can be corrected in a timely fashion.
- Security in unsafe areas. A property owner’s duty of safety to visitors includes safety from intentional physical harm (assault, battery, robbery, etc.). Ignoring this duty, which may range from installing working door locks to hiring guards, in an area known for crime could be a costly mistake if a guest, tenant or customer is assaulted.
- Adequate lighting. Poorly lit walkways, corridors, stairways, parking lots and other areas invite crime and accidents, such as slip and fall accidents.
- Adequately sized stairwells. Stairwells should be up to code, including having enclosed landings and platforms.
- Maintained stair treads and handrails. It is easy to trip or slip and fall on a stairway, especially for someone who has mobility issues. Loose handrails or broken stair treads create a hazard that can lead to catastrophic fall injuries.
- Storing equipment and removing debris. Housekeeping equipment, landscape tools or other instruments or implements left lying about may create a tripping hazard. Such items should be stored promptly after use. Trash and other debris create a hazard, too, and should be cleaned up without delay.
Many slip and fall or tripping accidents are caused by preventable conditions that were left to cause a problem simply out of negligence on the part of the property owner or the party in control of the property.
The slip and fall litigation team at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., has a record of winning maximum financial compensation for our clients. For example, we obtained $250,000 for a man who slipped and fell on an icy street and a $200,000 settlement for man who slipped on a wet bathroom floor in a movie theater.
Homeowners’ Liability for Guest Safety
There are several things to consider if you plan to have visitors to your home during the holiday season – or at any other time. Premises liability, the legal obligation to ensure that your home is safe for visitors, is not a seasonal condition.
Before your next gathering of any size, take care of:
- Dangerous conditions. Ice and snow, broken or loose steps or stairs, holes in the yard, tools or equipment lying in your yard or on floors, torn carpet, loose floor rugs, etc., are potential hazards that can cause falls and serious injuries. Clean up or remove any potential hazards in and around your home. Be careful, too, about newly waxed floors or other potentially slippery surfaces.
- Pets. Even the friendliest dog can bite. A pet surrounded by people, even people it knows, can become agitated. New York is one of the top 10 states in the nation for paying dog bite claims, with $6.4 million paid out for 116 claims in 2012, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- Attractive nuisances. Things like trampolines, jungle gyms, play sets, swimming pools, artificial water features (ponds and fountains), and other items that appeal to curious children unable to understand their risks are considered “attractive nuisances.” Even if you secure the object and instruct children “not to,” you could be liable if they are hurt playing where they shouldn’t have at your home. If you have children at a holiday gathering, make sure they are properly supervised.
- Social host liabilities. Social host laws may hold a party host liable for injuries suffered by third parties if those responsible for causing the third party’s injury – such as in a drunk-driving accident – were drinking at the host’s home. Aside from being liable for any injury or damage that arises from the drinking, social hosts could face criminal charges for allowing underage drinking by children who are not theirs. In New York, local governments, including New York City and Nassau County, have their own social host laws.
If someone is injured in your home because you failed to remove, reduce or warn about a potential hazard, you may be held liable for the resulting accident. The injured guest, or a third party injured by your drinking guest, may have the right to compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help them obtain the compensation they are due through the personal liability coverage of your homeowners’ insurance.
Contact an Experienced NYC Slip and Fall Attorney
If you have been injured in a fall that you think was caused by a hazard that was a property owner or manager’s fault, we may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Slip and fall cases can involve complicated legal questions. David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can assess the circumstances of your accident and determine whether actionable negligence was involved.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about the legal options that may be available to you. Call us today or contact us through our online form.
Who Is Responsible for NYC Slip and Fall Injuries?
After a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may wonder who can be held liable for the accident and the injuries it causes. The fact is that the negligent acts of property owners and others are often the cause of slip-and-fall accidents, making them liable for any injuries you suffer.
At David Resnick & Associates, P.C., our experienced New York slip and fall lawyers know first-hand how serious fall injuries can be, and the impact they can have on all areas of your life.
Even injuries from a seemingly minor slip and fall could require ongoing medical care and treatment, while preventing you from working or engaging in activities you enjoy. Identifying those responsible and proving fault in slip and fall accidents is a key factor in ensuring you get the compensation you need to recover.
Proving Fault in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents are a serious matter, and the injuries that result can be costly and potentially life-threatening. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that falls are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting more than 30,000 victims and their families each year. They are often the result of another’s negligent actions, particularly when they occur in public places such as stores, parking lots, sidewalks, restaurants, theaters and office buildings, for example.
Negligence is defined as either doing something a reasonable person would not do in similar circumstances, or failing to take actions a reasonable person would take. Negligence is a key element in proving fault in slip-and-fall accidents involving premises liability. Failing to correct unsafe conditions or to alert others of the potential fall risks are examples of situations in which the person who owns or is in charge of the property could be held responsible for slip-and-fall accidents that result.
Holding Property Owners and Managers Responsible for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
When you suffer injuries due to a slip-and-fall accident, the following are examples of parties that may be held at fault in a slip and fall claim for the damages you suffered:
Homeowners and landlords:
Negligent landlords and owners of residential property can be held accountable when injuries occur due to poor lighting on paths or in stairwells, from cracks in walkways, and from violations of the state housing code, for example. The NYCHA can also be named as a responsible party in some instances.
Negligent business owners can be held responsible by employees, customers, or clients for failing to make sure entrances and exits are clear and free of debris, and for shoveling sidewalks and walkways that are directly in front of their business, for example.
City or municipal governments:
When injuries on city-owned property occur as the result of uneven sidewalks, due to exposed wires and cables, or in areas under construction, for example, city and municipal governments make be held liable for any injuries suffered.
In any of the above situations – and many others that weren’t listed – you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a claim filed against the at-fault party’s insurer, or through a premise liability lawsuit filed with the court.
Call or contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., online today and request a free consultation to discuss your case with one our experienced New York premise liability attorneys.