If you’ve been injured in New York City and are hiring a lawyer, there are two terms that you may hear in the conversation.
This is the area of law that covers an individual’s injuries that are sustained while on someone else’s property. Grocery stores are a common place for premises liability cases, due to the amount of liquids that can end up on the floor. But other retail establishments like big-box stores, shopping malls, convenience stores may also incur premises liability. Also covered are hotels, convention centers, office buildings (including medical offices), amusement parks, schools, amusement parks, as well as their parking facilities. Sidewalks can also be involved in a premises liability claim, as well as someone’s private home.
In short, nearly anywhere you may go that’s not your home where you were injured due to another’s negligence is a potential premises liability case. Injuries can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
- Wet or slick floors (happens frequently in grocery stores)
- Electrical dangers
- Cracked or uneven flooring
- Holes in the floor or the ground
- Stairs badly built or in need of repairs
- No warning signs around an unsafe condition
- Exposed wiring or unsafe electrical equipment
- Malfunctioning equipment (i.e., elevators and escalators)
- Insufficient or lack of security
- Hazardous chemicals
- Uncontrolled or dangerous animals (i.e., dog bite)
You’ll need to prove three elements in a New York premises liability case:
- Duty of care—the owner, manager and/or employees of the property have a responsibility to keep their premises safe for anyone who visits. They must use “reasonable care” to ensure that the property is safe and well maintained.
- A breached duty of care—the owner and/or manager knew about the unsafe condition, or should have known, and failed to take corrective action
- That this breach caused your injury—It’s not enough to demonstrate that there was an unsafe condition that could have caused your injuries. You must show a direct connection between the breached duty of care and the injuries you sustained while on the property.
Taking your own pictures at the scene of the accident, or having someone nearby take them, is an ideal way to preserve evidence of the accident site. Should you decide to file a lawsuit, the pictures will be invaluable to your case, and to your personal injury attorney, in proving liability.
Negligence is a broader term, encompassing any type of action that leads to harm. This includes premises liability but is also part of any kind of personal injury case. It’s one of the most common elements of civil litigation in the state of New York. “Negligence” can mean any type of personal injury case, not just premises liability. You must prove the same three elements described above in order to seek damages.
“Gross negligence” is the complete and utter disregard for the safety of others, and in some cases, can lead to punitive damages.
One of the first arguments a defendant will likely use is that you were at fault for your accident.
New York law includes something called “pure comparative fault.” In other words, if you were also partly responsible for your injuries, you can be assigned a percentage of the fault. New York law (NY Civil Practice Law and Rules 1411) states that if both parties bear responsibility, the court determines how much each person was responsible for and assigns a percentage. This means that if you were 15% responsible for your injuries, and the other party was 85% responsible, your settlement will be reduced by 15%. In other words, if you are awarded $20,000, your settlement will be reduced by 15% and will become $17,000.
You Have Three Years
New York has a statute of limitations that allows three years for most personal injury cases, including premises liability (medical malpractice is 2½.)
But if you have an injury due to someone’s negligence, especially premises liability, don’t wait until the end of the three year period to speak to an attorney. Building a case takes time. If you don’t file until right before the deadline, there may not be enough time to prepare, and you could lose the case or have it dismissed.
NYC Family-Owned Personal Injury Law Firm
If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, we’re here to help you recover damages so you can heal. Call us at (212) 777-9400 (or use our online contact form.) As a family-owned personal injury law firm in New York City, we have more than 26 years of experience helping people just like you. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.