Did you sustain an injury on someone else’s property? Under New Yorks’ premises liability law, the property owner could be held liable for injuries sustained while you were lawfully on their property. For an individual to pursue financial compensation for injuries in New York, a person must be able to provide supporting evidence that proves an act of negligence occurred.
What Constitutes Premises Liability in New York?
For a homeowner or business owner to be held liable for injuries sustained in an accident on his or her premises, the injured person must prove:
He or she was legally on the property in question (either by invitation, to perform work, or for some other valid reason);
The owner had a legal duty to provide a standard of reasonable care or a responsibility to maintain a relatively safe environment with minimal risk of danger or unforeseen hazards;
The owner knew about the hazard or should have known, and failed to correct it or warn about it; and
The breach of duty is what caused the victim’s injury.
As long as you are able to provide evidence to prove your injury was caused in full or in part by the property owner’s failure to fulfill his or her duty of care, you may seek damages by filing a premises liability claim.
Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Although property owners have a legal responsibility to do what they can, within reason, to keep visitors and guests safe, accidents and injuries do occur. Not all injuries or accidents on another person’s property are the result of owner negligence. In some instances, an accident is simply an accident.
Some of the most common types of premises liability accidents are caused by:
Slip and fall accidents:
Falls represent the leading cause of visits to emergency rooms, accounting for eight million visits annually. Bone fractures occur in one of every 20 falls. In another report, unintentional injuries (which includes falls) were the leading cause of death among people between the ages of one and forty-four.
Premises liability cases involving falls can happen due to an owner’s failure to repair a broken sidewalk, fix an uneven walkway, provide adequate lighting in parking lots and other public areas, conduct routine maintenance, clean up a spill or post warning of a slip and fall hazard, fail to remove snow or ice in a timely fashion, or other acts of negligence.
Dog Bite Injuries:
Approximately 4,000 dog bites are reported each year to the NYC Health Department each year. Young children, particularly boys ages 5 to 12 are at greatest risk of a dog bite injury. Children and older adults are most likely to be seriously injured by a dog attack.
While most dogs will not act in an aggressive manner unless intentionally agitated or provoked, an owner’s failure to warn or take certain precautions with a dog on the premises could result in serious injuries or death.
Failure to post warning signs, leaving a dog unattended, and other such actions are examples of potential negligence that could make a property owner liable for damages in a premises liability lawsuit.
Pool drowning or near-drowning:
The New York State’s Department of Health (DOH) keeps track of the number of drowning investigations that occur in its more than 7,400 public swimming pools and 1,300 public bathing beaches. The DOH also keeps track of drowning incidents throughout the state.
Information from the most recent Drowning Data report shows that while the number of drownings in the state have been on an overall decline since 1987, New York State still sees between 75 and 125 drownings each year on average. Approximately 35 of those drowning incidents occur at state-regulated facilities.
If a property owner fails to have a posted lifeguard or at least post swimming pool rules, lacks a proper gate and locking door to keep uninvited or unsupervised guests out, ignores routine maintenance, fails to do necessary repairs, uses a high concentration of toxic pool chemicals, has unsafe pool drains, or allows broken surfaces to remain without repair, it could lead to a drowning or near-drowning incident.
When a property owner or manager is negligent with security around the property it can increase the risk of visitors and guests becoming the victims of assault, rape, robbery, or any number of violent crimes. A recent report from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services indicated more than 76,000 violent crimes were reported in the state in 2013.
Assault (not including sexual assault) is one of the leading causes of nonfatal injuries among people between the ages of 10 and 64, according to the CDC’s most recent report. It is important for property owners to take adequate security measures to keep those who frequent their properties safe.
Property owners can minimize this risk by making repairs or adding lights to poorly lit areas, installing security cameras, initiating safety procedures among employees and guests, hiring and seeing to the proper training of security guards, as well as fixing any non-functional locks or doors.
Benefits of Hiring a Skilled Premises Liability Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident on another person’s property, which you believe the owner should have been reasonably able to prevent, you may have grounds to file a claim. It’s a good idea to have a knowledgeable New York premises liability lawyer review the specifics of your accident.
Having an attorney start investigating the accident, securing evidence immediately, can dramatically improve your chances of success.
With the help of an attorney, you will be more equipped to prove each of the essential elements required to substantiate your case. An attorney can help defend you against allegations that you are partially or entirely responsible for the injuries you sustained and fight to protect your right to fair and just compensation.