Your Options in a Slip and Fall Incident
The NYC metropolitan area has experienced a particularly cold winter this year. These kinds of harsh weather conditions have lead to many slip and fall accidents occurring throughout the city. Slip and fall incidents are often as a result of failure to properly remove snow and ice from sidewalks, parking lots or residential properties. Property owners, tenants and snow removal companies are often among those responsible.
If you’ve slipped and fallen as the result of snow or accident, call a New York accident attorney to have your case thoroughly examined. Your attorney can then determine who is responsible for your slip and fall. A New York accident attorney will know the right people to bring suit against for your slip and fall case.
What is a “slip and fall”?
A slip and fall incident simply refers to a situation in which parts of the floor or building create a dangerous area leading to a fall or any other personal injury. To give an idea of what would count as a “slip and fall” case, people in the past have brought lawsuits for wet floors, lack of waste containers (i.e. someone could slip on trash), torn carpeting, cracked floors, etc. If you think you may have been the victim of a slip and fall incident you should seek the advice of an accident lawyer in New York.
In legal terms, slip and fall incidents fall under the category of “premises liability”. Basically, premises liability defines the extent to which an owner of a building or any other piece of property, like a retail store, is responsible for the safety of those visiting said property, such as a store shopper.
Slip and Fall: What is premises liability?
Again, premises liability is a way for the legal system to define the responsibility that owners have for their clients or visitors. In slip and fall cases it is important to understand the definition of “owner”. For instance, slip and fall cases can apply anywhere. The term “owner” does not necessarily have to apply to a business owner, although it can. Rather, this term refers to people who are the holder of either public or private property, which means that slip and fall cases could refer even to the homes of family and friends.
What duties do owners have to their clients or visitors to prevent slip and fall?
Property owners are required to maintain the property in order to make it safe for all. This means that if an owner is aware of an issue that could potentially lead to a dangerous situation, it is their duty to fix the issue at their earliest convenience. They must also find a resolution for the issue in a way that would completely solve the problem and would not make it worse
If owners are unable to fix the issue immediately, then they must provide fair warning to visitors on the property. For example, if a floor has just been mopped, but cannot be dried immediately, then the owner should make sure a “Wet Floor” sign is placed in the area.
What must you prove in a slip and fall case?
It is not enough to simply receive an injury on a property in order to make a case. A slip and fall case needs several components in order to be successful. The New York City Bar Association provides three main elements to a slip and fall scenario. First, the victim must either be on the property lawfully or fall under one of the two acceptable trespassing categories discussed above. Second, the owner of the property must have been aware, within a reasonable amount of time after the issue came about, to be able to fix it and then failed to do so or did so negligently. Either they did not bother with the issue or attempted to fix it with no solution. Third, the slip and fall, or related action, must have been the direct cause of the injury.
However, this does not apply if an owner violated a law such as 7-210 N.Y. ADC. LAW § 7-210 : NY Code – Section 7-210: Liability of real property owner for failure to maintain sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. This statute requires no notice. Essentially it assumes notice because the condition exists in front of a commercial property or dwelling with more than two units. Many times residential properties are used for commercial purposes so even single family dwellings can come under the statute.
This statue does not only include keeping the sidewalk free of defects such as cracks and holes but clearing snow and ice. Many towns and cities around New York State have enacted similar statutes.
If you have fallen on a sidewalk and are injured it is imperative that you contact an accident lawyer in New York as soon as possible to pursue your case.
What can happen in your slip and fall case?
Slip and fall cases can be difficult to prove at times, since New York law may sometimes hold the victim partially, or fully, responsible for their injuries. For example, a “Wet Floor” sign may have been present but unseen by the victim. In this scenario, both parties may be held partially liable (or totally responsible), which would mean that the victim would receive less compensation. Again, the three main elements mentioned by the bar association are highly important in these cases. An accident lawyer in New York can help organize the evidence needed for a successful trial. In the event of the owner being held responsible, monetary compensation for injuries and, possibly, emotional turmoil is likely.