Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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If you are injured in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, there are several potential pitfalls that may ensnare your case on the way to an award of compensation. The property owner may argue that it did not know, and could not reasonably have known, about the hazard. Alternatively, the facts in your case may lead the defense to argue that the hazard that allegedly felled you was too trivial to allow for a judgment of liability and award of compensation. Overcoming these and other arguments requires a careful knowledge of the law and an in-depth understanding regarding the evidence needed in a premises liability case. To make sure you have a strong case, make sure you contact a skilled New York premises liability attorney about your accident.

Two different recent rulings highlight what it takes to overcome an argument about the size of the defect that harmed you. In the first case, Nancy was a customer headed inside a convenience store on Long Island. Nancy allegedly suffered substantial injuries when she tripped and fell on a defect in the store’s parking lot. The store asked the court to throw out the case, arguing that the parking lot defect was “trivial as a matter of law.”

New York law is very clear that property owners are not liable for injuries caused by trivial defects. The law does not, however, have a specific definition of what makes a defect trivial as opposed to non-trivial. The court in Nancy’s case explained that there “is no ‘minimal dimension test’ or per se rule that a defect must be of a certain minimum height or depth.” The law requires courts to look at all of the evidence. In other words, a relatively small defect might be non-trivial and allow for an award of compensation if it had certain other things that would potentially make it comparatively dangerous. This included things like “a jagged edge; a rough, irregular surface; the presence of other defects in the vicinity; poor lighting; or a location—such as a parking lot, premises entrance/exit, or heavily traveled walkway—where pedestrians are naturally distracted from looking down at their feet.”

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Although it may be June, the inevitable fact is that the calendar will eventually turn to December and January, and, with it, New York will again be faced with snowy and icy weather. Along with those things will come dangerous icy sidewalks. When you are injured due to a snowy or icy sidewalk slip-and-fall, the issue of negligence may be straightforward. Someone was responsible for conducting snow and ice removal, someone allegedly did not perform the task properly, and, as a result, you slipped and fell and suffered harm. What may be more challenging, in some situations, is identifying the proper person or entity to sue. For advice and representation in undertaking all of these tasks, reach out to an experienced New York premises liability attorney about your case.

An example of all that goes into putting together a sidewalk slip-and-fall case was the lawsuit filed by Michelle, a Manhattan pedestrian. While walking along a sidewalk, Michelle slipped and fell on black ice near the corner of Second Avenue and 27th Street. The fall caused Michelle to suffer substantial injuries.

Michelle sued, asserting that negligent snow removal led to the formation of the dangerous black ice condition on the sidewalk. In Michelle’s situation, the exact location of her fall (near the corner of two streets) added an extra layer of possible complication. The building next to the sidewalk where Michelle got hurt was one with a mixture of business and residential tenants. The first-floor tenant was a major pharmacy. The pharmacy contended that the building owner was responsible for all snow and ice removal. If the pharmacy was right, the building owner would be the proper party for Michelle to sue. The owner, however, contended that it was only responsible for clearing 27th Street, while the pharmacy had the obligation to keep Second Avenue clear. If the owner was correct, the precise location of Michelle’s accident would be key to determining which entity was liable to her.

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The law of premises liability can apply in a variety of different situations. A premises liability case can arise from a shopper’s trip (or slip) and fall in a store. It can emerge from a tenant’s tripping or falling while on the property owned by the landlord. It can also potentially happen when a worker is injured on the job. Regardless of the origin, if you’ve been hurt while on property owned by someone else due to a hazardous condition on that property, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your case, contact a skilled New York premises liability attorney soon.

A example of the last of the three hypothetical injuries listed above happened to a Westchester County worker in the summer of 2013. Richard was working on a mechanical system at a large shopping mall in downtown White Plains. Richard’s job required him to get on the roof of the mall, which was accomplished via a small set of wooden stairs. As Richard was getting back down those stairs, one of the steps allegedly cracked and forced the worker to jump off the staircase to avoid falling. The result of the jump left Richard with substantial injuries, so he sued the mall owner for his damages.

Although Richard was a worker at the mall site, he pursued his lawsuit under the legal theory of premises liability. This allows various types of people whom the law calls “invitees” to recover compensation for hazards on a landowner’s property. Whether you are a worker at a shopping mall or a personal guest at a private home, you may be entitled to compensation if you were hurt because the property owner failed to keep up the property and allowed a hazardous condition to exist.

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Many times, when the phrase “premises liability” pops up, it can refer to two types of civil cases for damages. One group is “slip and fall” cases; the other is “trip and fall.” These two types of premises liability issues emerge because a person or entity that owned or controlled a property failed to keep the property in a sufficiently safe condition (or failed to warn about hazards), which allowed someone on the property to either slip or trip and suffer injuries. While those may be the facts behind many, if not most, premises liability cases, you may still be entitled to sue and recover compensation even if your accident was neither a slip-and-fall nor a trip-and-fall, such as when you are injured due to debris falling on you in your apartment. To find out more about your rights if you’ve been injured, talk to a skilled New York premises liability attorney.

The recent case of a Yonkers woman named Jeanine, who sued in 2016, was an example of a situation in which the injured person was entitled to pursue her case, even though it was neither a slip-and-fall nor a trip-and-fall. One day, according to Jeanine’s lawsuit, debris fell from the ceiling of her apartment bathroom, crashing into her and causing injuries. The tenant launched a premises liability case based upon the alleged failure to maintain the apartment, including its ceilings, in an adequately safe condition.

When you are injured while on a commercial property, you may have rights and options against multiple people and companies. You may be able to sue a commercial tenant, the landlord, or perhaps both, depending on the exact facts of your case. If you are injured on a residential rental property, you may also have the opportunity to pursue an award of damages against multiple people and entities. In Jeanine’s case, her facts supported suing both the LLC that owned the building and a second corporation. Jeanine’s complaint in the lawsuit made sure to assert that both the LLC and the second corporation “owned, managed, controlled and maintained” the property. That was important because making an assertion that a person or company owned, managed, controlled, or maintained a property is essential to being allowed to pursue a claim of premises liability against that person or entity.

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In a premises liability lawsuit (such as a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall case,) there are many potential arguments the defense may make, depending on the facts. In litigation, a property owner may try to argue that the defect that caused the trip and fall was open and obvious. That’s because property owners do not have a legal obligation to protect the people on their property from any hazards that are open and obvious to a reasonably observant person. Alternatively, in other circumstances, a property owner may try to argue that a defect was too trivial to allow for a court to find the property owner legally liable. To succeed, you will want proof on your side that the hazard that injured you was neither open and obvious nor trivial. These are some of the many important arguments you’ll need to make on your way to a successful outcome in your premises liability case. For answers to your specific questions about your trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall case, reach out to an experienced New York trip-and-fall accident attorney.

A lawsuit from Queens recently decided by the Appellate Division was an example of such a trip-and-fall case. Milagros was walking in the backyard of a property in Queens when she tripped and fell. The fall caused Milagros to suffer injuries, so she sued the homeowner for premises liability. The law says that all property owners must maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition. If they fail to do that, and the hazard that results from this safety shortcoming causes someone to get hurt, that injured person can obtain compensation through a premises liability lawsuit.

In Milagros’ case, the hazard was improperly maintained concrete in the backyard, which had led to a crack developing (and Milagros tripping and falling as a result of that crack). In many situations, property owners and their insurance companies will not pay compensation without a legal fight. Many times, property owners will also try to avoid a trial by persuading the trial judge that the facts are insufficient to allow the case to get to trial, and, as a result, the defense is entitled to a summary judgment, which means that the plaintiff’s lawsuit gets thrown out.

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As anyone who has walked around New York City in the wintertime knows, just because the snow, sleet, or freezing rain has stopped falling from the skies, that doesn’t mean that the danger is gone for those traversing the city’s sidewalks and other walkways. Many times, it can be the ice that remains or accumulates after a storm that can harm you. Owners or possessors of property have a legal obligation to keep sidewalks and other walkways safe, including clearing snow and ice. Thus, if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on a snowy or icy sidewalk, you may be entitled to recovery. You should check with an experienced New York slip-and-fall attorney about your case.

One example of an injured person who was able to overcome a property owner’s arguments and take his case to trial was a man in the Bronx named Tyrone. Tyrone’s case was one that highlights how using a strong combination of firsthand testimony and expert witness testimony can help you clear the hurdles in your case.

Tyrone was walking along a sidewalk located on a New York City public housing property when he slipped and fell, suffering injuries in the process. After he fell, Tyrone noticed that the ice on the sidewalk where he fell was brown and dirty-looking.

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Recent reports by organizations such as the American Association of Pediatrics have warned about the dangers of home trampolines. The association’s report indicated that roughly 75% of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people attempt to use the trampoline at the same time. If you are injured on a trampoline located on someone else’s property, you may have a case for compensation under a claim of premises liability. The defense may argue that you assumed the risk by using the device, but that argument may not necessarily prevent recovery, as one New York City woman’s successful lawsuit recently demonstrated. As with all potential premises liability-related injuries, it is important to contact an experienced New York premises liability attorney right away to get started working on your case.

The trampoline owners were Jeffrey and Debra, who lived in Saratoga County with their nine-year-old son. One day, the boy and his Aunt Judi (Jeffrey’s sister) were playing on the trampoline. Judi had never been on a trampoline before. It did not end well, and the 48-year-old woman suffered multiple fractures in her left foot. The injury caused her to undergo multiple surgeries to insert an implant and fuse together some of her joints.

The woman sued her brother and sister-in-law for her injuries in a premises liability action. She contended that the parents were negligent in supervising the boy, whose actions of “double-bouncing,” or jumping out of unison with his aunt, caused her foot injuries. The parents, in their defense, argued that the woman had “assumed the risk” of potential injury when she chose to get on the trampoline.

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When you are pursuing a trip-and-fall case, you will inevitably face many challenges along the way. One of the obstacles you may face is an argument from the other side that you were the one who was responsible for your own injuries. There can be many ways to present this argument, including contending that the hazard that injured you was open and obvious and you should have taken action to protect yourself. It is important to be prepared for this and to have the ammunition you need to overcome this assertion. With representation from a knowledgeable New York premises liability attorney, you can present the proof you need to overcome these types of defenses.

One case in which the issue of an “open and obvious” hazard took center stage was the injury action filed by a Rochester pedestrian named Linda. Linda was walking in the central business district of Rochester when she fell and was injured. The pedestrian tripped when she was walking in an alleyway near an office building and fell over a speed bump in the alley. According to the woman, despite the speed bump’s size, it was not easy to spot. It was allegedly next to a marked pedestrian crosswalk and was painted the same as the crosswalk. This paint job made it difficult to notice that the traffic device was actually an elevated bump, rather than just another part of the flat crosswalk, according to the pedestrian’s lawsuit.

Since the speed bump was a sizeable thing, the building owner, who was the defendant in this case, argued that the bump was open and obvious and that, since it was open and obvious, the owner could not be liable for the woman’s failure to see it (and the injuries that resulted).

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Many people may understand a bit about how premises liability cases (like trip and fall or slip and fall actions) proceed. The injured person accuses the person or entity responsible for the safety, maintenance, repair, and upkeep of a property with some action or inaction that caused the injured person to slip or trip, fall, and suffer harm. However, what happens when the thing that caused you to fall was something that you placed on the property? When that happens, your intervening action means that you cannot win, right? Not necessarily. Depending on the facts of your case, you may still have a clear ability to secure a favorable outcome. A knowledgeable New York premises liability attorney can advise you on how you can recover damages in your case.

Here’s an example of a plaintiff in such a scenario who successfully defeated his landlords’ attempt to get his case thrown out on summary judgment. The tenant, Laszlo, rented an apartment in a building owned by Harry and Donna. According to the tenant, there was a problem with the property:  the step from the landing to the doorway of the apartment building was too high to traverse. To address this problem, the tenant decided to place some bricks or blocks on the landing to create an extra step and make the area more easily accessible.

One day, though, Laszlo stepped on his bricks and one moved, which caused him to fall. Laszlo suffered injuries as a result of his fall, so he sued. In his slip and fall lawsuit, Laszlo asserted a claim of premises liability. In any lawsuit asserting a premises liability claim, the injured person must demonstrate that there was an area that was hazardous, that the hazard was what caused the injuries, and that the property owner (or other person or entity that was legally responsible for the property’s maintenance, upkeep, and safety) either knew about the hazard or reasonably should have known about it.

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There are multiple different ways that you can succeed in a premises liability case. You can show that your slip and fall or trip and fall was a result of improper maintenance, such as an unstable step on a stairway or a pothole in a parking lot. You can also win a premises liability case if you can show that the thing that caused your injuries was unsafe in terms of its design. Whatever the basis of your premises liability case, a knowledgeable New York City premises liability attorney can provide you with essential benefits along every step of the litigation process in your injury case.

The injured person in a recent premises liability case was a delivery person who worked for a company that provided linens for hospitals. The delivery worker, Semen G., alleged that he was pushing a four-wheeled cart full of floor mats up a ramp in the loading dock area of a hospital in Manhattan when he was injured.

The delivery person sued for his injuries. The central thrust of his premises liability case was that the ramp was unreasonably dangerous. It was, according to the man’s complaint, “improperly sloped—i.e., it was too steep, high, and long.” This alleged improper design meant that, for workers doing the kind of work that Semen G. did, the ramp exposed them to “forces greater and longer in duration than what are customary for ramps used for deliveries.”

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