Property owners may have liability when you slip and fall on their property. If you have been injured, you should consider your legal options for compensation for pain, medical bills, and loss of work.
For example, you can make a claim with the owner’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit. But, in New York, you should know how the courts handle such cases.
Define “Slip and Fall”
A slip and fall is a term commonly applied to accidents in which people slip or trip and fall. Safeopedia claims that 60 percent of falls follow slip and trip events.
Common conditions for such accidents include:
- Exposed cables, tools, or obstructions
- Ice, snow, rain, sleet, and other adverse weather conditions
- Inadequate lighting or signage
- Obstructed view
- Loose mats or rugs
- Uneven flooring or flooring materials lacking traction
- Wet or oily surfaces
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Spinal Cord lists several injuries incurred by slip and fall victims:
· Soft Tissue Injuries include painful and long-lasting ankle and wrist sprains or torn and strained tendons and ligaments.
· Head Injuries may manifest as contusions, lacerations, or loss of consciousness. There might be a minor concussion or traumatic brain injury even though symptoms might not be immediately apparent.
· Cuts and Abrasions may look worse than they are, but they can lead to medical expenses.
· Spinal Cord Injuries have lasting effects, especially when the cord is compressed or severed.
· Broken Bones can range from hands, wrists, and arms to feet, ankles, and legs. Accidents break bones or joints in shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees.
In any slip and fall that does more than hurt your pride, victims should seek medical care as soon as possible for testing, prognosis, and care.
Restrictions in Lawsuits in New York
The New York courts don’t want to be cluttered with lawsuits arising from slip and fall accidents. Lawyers and clients are urged to negotiate settlements or resolve issues in mandatory pre-trial hearings. But, if you take a case to court in New York, you should know about two restrictions:
· Statute of Limitations: NY Civil Practice Laws & Regulations (section 214) requires claimants to file a lawsuit within three years of the alleged accident.
· Shared Fault: The property owner where you were injured will argue that you have some responsibility for the fall. If the court decides you have some liability, it will affect the compensation awarded. In shared fault decisions, injured parties are entitled to receive compensation reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault.
Experienced attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier, P.C. say, “Slip-and-fall suits hinge on the concept of negligence, which means someone had a responsibility toward you and failed to take reasonable actions to fulfill that responsibility.”
How to Prove Negligence in an NYC Slip and Fall Case
Proving negligence can be difficult because there is no clear definition of a dangerous condition. Typically, your attorney would offer evidence that a dangerous condition existed on the property whether it was owned by a person, business, or government entity.
You will have to show that the property owner had knowledge of that dangerous condition. You must prove the owner sufficient time to correct the problem before the accident, or that the owner did not fix it properly.
New York courts accept evidence of actual knowledge or constructive knowledge:
· Actual knowledge occurs when the property owner admits to knowing about the problem.
· Constructive knowledge depends on proof that the owner should have known about the condition.
The outcome is that it is easier to prove injury because of a structural problem like a faulty or missing hand railing, an unlit staircase, a cluttered floor, and the like. It is more difficult to present evidence for a common slip and fall on a restaurant or showroom floor where the evidence is fleeting.
You must also show that your negligence has not contributed to the accident. The defendant property owner will seek to prove you willfully disregarded warning signs, that you were injured while under the influence, that you were carelessly distracted, or that you are faking your injuries.
Your Final Advice
If you are hurt in a slip and fall accident in NYC, you will be only one of the hundreds of such events that day. If the property owner is at fault, you deserve compensation for the pain, medical expenses, loss of work, and more directly attributable to the accident.
You deserve the compensation allowed under New York law through comparative or contributory negligence. And, you may find it more difficult to prove the cause of your loss.
Given the number of such accidents, the insurance companies and courts make reasonable efforts to settle the claims reasonably fast. But, you would do better working from the earliest with a qualified and experience New York slip and fall, personal injury attorney.