Premises Liability is an area of personal injury cases that deals with injuries which occur on someone’s property. Injuries on someone else’s property can be obvious or not so obvious. Whether they’re in a grocery store, on a subway platform, in City Hall, or someone’s private home, owners and employees are required to keep a place safe for anyone who visits. But after an accident, the first thing you want to know is why and how it happened. That’s where it becomes important to not only get medical treatment for your injuries but gather evidence as quickly and as efficiently as you can before it disappears.
Negligence And Liability
Property owners, managers, in some cases, employees are responsible for keeping a property safe. The owner generally owns a legal duty to any visitors and bears liability if their negligence breaches that duty.
You will need to establish these two points by proving:
• The defendant owned the property
• That you were on the property lawfully, whether you were invited, you worked there, or you were on a property that is open to the public.
However, trespassing may be considered an exception period.
• One or more hazardous conditions were in places, such as broken flooring, slippery substances, insufficient lighting, or other conditions that can cause an accident (These are just examples of the many hazards responsible for a premises liability case.)
• The owner, manager, or employee and or employees were negligent in dealing with the hazardous condition. They knew or should have known about these conditions and did not properly address them.
• This negligence of taking necessary corrective action to remedy the hazard directly resulted in your injuries.
Remediation will be different in each case. For instance, if a restaurant owner fails to properly maintain their sidewalks or parking lot, leading to an injury for patrons, the patron has the right to bring up a premises liability claim against the owner. If an apartment building has insufficient lighting that leads to injuries because residents and visitors could not see a hazard, the owner, manager, or both could also be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on the premises.
If You Are Partly Responsible
One of the first defenses that a defendant will raise is that the plaintiff caused their own injuries due to their own negligence. In other words. There may have been a problem, but because you weren’t paying attention, you were on your phone, or you ignored the warning signs. Therefore, they will claim, you are the person responsible for your injuries, not the defendant. New York law observes the “pure comparative negligence rule” when it comes to accident settlements whether the case settles or goes to trial. In other words, how much responsibility does the plaintiff bear for the accident?
For instance, what if a dog (or other animals) attacks while visiting a private home or apartment? One of the first questions to be asked will be how the plaintiff interacted with the animal during the visit.
Were you friendly, or did you react badly to the dog, cat, or other animals? If the animal greeted you in an unfriendly manner, you may have perceived the animal to be dangerous or vicious. Conversely, if you gave the animal reason to be frightened, such as raising your hand as a threat, you may be seen as partly responsible. However, the owner also faces liability if they failed to properly restrain the animal to prevent the possibility of an attack or bite.
If the plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for the animal attack, the settlement or award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the plaintiff bears. That is if the plaintiff is found to be 25% responsible for the accident, and the defendant responsible for 75%, the plaintiff’s $10,000 settlement will be reduced to $7,500.
New York City’s Premises Liability Law Firm
Premises liability cases can be complex. Plaintiffs who retain legal counsel after an accident can recover significantly more compensation than plaintiffs who don’t. The sooner you hire an experienced premises liability attorney to represent you, the better. Call us at (212) 777-9400 (or use our online contact form.) Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier is a family-owned personal injury law firm, with more than 26 years of experience helping injured people. Our contingency fee arrangement means we aren’t paid until you are, whether we settle your case in or out of court.