If you rent a house or an apartment, and if you’re injured by slipping and falling on the premises, indoors or outdoors, can the landlord be held liable? With help from a Bronx premises liability attorney, can the landlord be compelled to reimburse you for your medical bills and lost wages?
Like so many legal questions, the answer is “It depends.” If you’ll keep reading, you’ll learn more about a landlord’s liability and the factors that must be considered when someone files a personal injury claim arising from a slip-and-fall injury on private property.
What is a Landlord’s Legal Obligation?
Landlords in New York, along with homeowners, business owners, and state, county, and local governments, are obligated by law to make sure that their properties and premises are “reasonably” hazard-free for their tenants, customers, employees, and visitors.
If a New York landlord’s negligence is the reason why you’ve suffered an injury, and if you and your lawyer can prove it, under New York law you are entitled to full compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, personal pain, suffering, and other related damages.
Premises liability claims that arise from slipping and falling on another person’s private property most frequently involve these types of injuries: traumatic brain injuries, severe spinal cord injuries, back, neck, and head injuries, contusions, and broken bones.
What Are the Leading Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
Every year, thousands of New Yorkers are injured in slip-and-fall accidents that could have been prevented.
The leading causes of these accidents include:
1. slippery or wet floors
2. cracked, slippery, or uneven sidewalks or pavement
3. curled-up carpets, floor mats, and rugs
4. cluttered hallways, aisles, and walkways
5. dilapidated and uneven staircases
6. insufficient lighting – particularly in staircases and parking areas
As you may have guessed, slip-and fall injuries are sustained in the greatest numbers by the elderly.
If You Are Injured on Private Property, Are You Entitled to Compensation?
If a New York landlord has been negligent, and you are injured by slipping and falling because of that negligence, you will be entitled to monetary damages, but in many cases, obtaining those damages isn’t easy.
An injured victim of negligence in this situation will not only have to offer proof that a landlord was irresponsible, but a victim will also need to provide proof that the landlord’s negligence was a direct cause of the personal injury or injuries.
That makes it essential for a slip-and-fall injury victim to be represented by the right New York premises liability attorney. If you’ll keep reading, you will learn what is required to succeed with a premises liability claim in the State of New York.
Is the Law Fair to Landlords?
State laws that address premises liability try to be fair. The law tries to balance the landlord’s obligation to prevent harm with the personal obligation of employees, customers, tenants, and others to stay aware and alert.
The law presumes that landlords cannot be held liable for every possible accident that may occur on a property. Thus, New York obligates a landlord to take every “reasonable” measure to repair hazardous conditions, keep properties safe, and prevent accidents and the injuries they cause.
What Is Required to Prevail in a Premises Liability Case?
How is balance and fairness in these cases achieved by the courts? To prevail with an injury claim for premises liability, an injury victim (the “plaintiff”) and the victim’s attorney must offer proof that one or more of these allegations is true and that a landlord:
1. should have known about the hazard that caused the accident because a “reasonable” property owner in a similar situation would have known about the condition and would have taken steps to repair it
2. knew about the dangerous condition and did not repair it
3. was in fact responsible for the hazard
Landlords in New York may not know every legal detail about their obligations, but they do know that they’re legally responsible for maintaining their properties in reasonably safe conditions.
What Questions Must Be Resolved in Premises Liability Cases?
Premises liability cases usually focus on what a landlord “should” have been aware of and whether a landlord acted “reasonably.”
In premises liability cases, the central questions are:
1. When did a landlord know about a hazard, and when did the accident happen?
2. Did a landlord reasonably have enough time to have the hazard repaired?
After a landlord learns about a leaky pipe or a cracked sidewalk, for example, several days may be needed to schedule and complete repairs. Until that happens, a landlord should have warning signs posted.
What Defenses May Be Offered Against Your Injury Claim?
If you take legal action against a landlord for a slip-and-fall injury, the landlord may insist that you were the negligent party. In a premises liability case, a landlord may respond to your injury claim with one of these defense arguments:
1. You weren’t watching where you were going.
2. You entered an area that was off-limits, or you were trespassing.
3. Warning signs and/or yellow cones provided sufficient warning of the hazard.
4. Reasonable individuals would have noticed and avoided what was clearly a hazard.
How Are These Cases Resolved?
Most premises liability claims in New York are resolved privately in out-of-court negotiations, but when a claim cannot be settled privately – and that’s uncommon – a jury can decide if the landlord had an adequate length of time to repair the hazard that caused the accident and injury.
If you’re injured on your landlord’s premises – or on private property anywhere in New York –seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t “feel” injured. After your medical treatment, arrange at once to discuss your options with a Bronx premises liability attorney.
How Quickly Do Negligence Victims Need To Act?
Don’t procrastinate. The statute of limitations in New York gives the injured victims of negligence three years to begin the legal process, but you must not wait three years – or even three weeks – to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
Over three years, evidence will deteriorate or disappear. If there were eyewitnesses to the accident, their memories will fade. The sooner you act, the more likely it is that your injury claim will prevail.
It doesn’t matter if your circumstances are affluent or modest, because New York’s injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, and you’ll pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your Bronx personal injury attorney wins the compensation – and the justice – that you will need.
Your first meeting with a premises liability attorney comes with no cost or obligation. You’ll learn how the law applies in your own situation, and if you and your attorney move forward with an injury claim, the law in New York will be on your side.