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Overcoming Arguments about Trivial Defects in Your New York Trip-and-Fall Case

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.

The property owner in Milagros’ case argued that it was entitled to summary judgment on the basis that the defect that felled Milagros was too trivial to allow for legal liability and compensation to the injured woman. The courts disagreed with the property owner and allowed Milagros to proceed to trial. Cases in which the defense argues that a defect was trivial involve a close inspection of the facts. New York law does not have precise dimension rules regarding how small a defect must be in order to qualify as trivial under the law. Each case must be judged on its own set of facts, which means that the vast majority of premises liability cases that come down to whether or not the defect was trivial are cases (like Milagros’) that must be resolved by a jury at trial, whose job it is to be the “finder of fact.”

If you’ve been hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident, the knowledgeable Queens slip-and-fall accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman are here to help. Our attorneys have been diligently and effectively representing injured people from around the area for many years, and we understand just how serious the injuries caused by these types of accidents can be. To put our team to work for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Overcoming an ‘Open and Obvious’ Defense Argument to Get Your New York Trip and Fall Case to Trial, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 2, 2018

Injured New York Woman Allowed to Pursue Premises Liability Case After Falling Due to Yard Defect, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 20, 2017

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