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I Was Injured On Someone’s Property. Do I Have The Right To Sue In New York?

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Joseph P. Awad - Personal Injury - Medical Malpractice - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Joseph P. Awad

Located in New York, NYSilberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C.

Phone: 516-500-8733
Fax: 516-832-7877

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In New York, an owner or possessor of a building or land – premises - has a duty to use reasonable care to keep their property in a safe condition to protect everyone whose presence on the property is reasonably foreseeable.

When a person is injured on someone’s property because of an unsafe condition, or because the owner or possessor was negligent by not keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and the hazardous condition was a factor in causing the person’s injury, premises liability exists.

Once negligence is demonstrated, the property’s owner or possessor is responsible for compensating the injured person for all their harms and losses.

Types Of Premises Liability Cases

Many kinds of personal injury claims can be filed related to premises liability, including:

  • Falls on slippery surfaces
  • Injuries involving ice and snow
  • Deficient maintenance of a building’s lighting, handrails, stairs, elevators and garbage compactors
  • Defects in construction or design of the property
  • Inadequate security creating the opportunity for assault, battery and sexual assault
  • Fires
  • Escalator and elevator malfunctions
  • Swimming pool incidents
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Lead poisoning

In New York City, substantial awards have been achieved involving broken sidewalks, driveways or roads.

Common Injuries In Premises Liability Cases

Premises liability injuries frequently cause devastating physical and financial harm. These harmful incidents result in significant trauma, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Spinal cord injuries, some involving paralysis
  • Lost limbs
  • Impairment of organ and bodily functions
  • Wrongful death

Injured persons often suffer substantial physical pain and financial hardships due to lost wages and permanent disability.

 The Property Owner’s Duty Of Care

All property owners or possessors in New York are required to maintain their property, keeping it in “reasonably” safe condition. This “duty of care” extends to all visitors, and state law no longer distinguishes between different classifications, such as invited guests (shoppers), licensees (salespeople) or even trespassers under certain circumstances.

Steps To Take After An Accident

It is vital to your case to preserve as much evidence as possible immediately following the incident. Take these actions:

  • Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention regardless of the injury’s severity.
  • Take numerous photographs of the defect and site of injury as soon as possible.
  • Acquire contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the incident.
  • Contact a trial lawyer concentrating in personal injury.
  • Report the injury to the property owner, possessor, manager, supervisor or other responsible parties and just give the facts of date, time, place and injury. Do not discuss anything else.
  • Say as little as possible, keep calm and don’t accept any blame.
  • Preserve clothes and shoes, especially if they are damaged.

Along with contacting a knowledgeable attorney, taking videos or pictures, recording the conditions and making notes about lighting or other factors helps document the accident scene.

Filing A Claim And Understanding Comparative Fault

Injured parties have three years to file a premises liability lawsuit in New York.  The clock starts running on the date when the injury occurred. The time to file against a municipal entity such as a city, village, town or county, public school, public college and municipal medical facilities requires a Notice of Claim in 90 days and filing a lawsuit within one year and 90 days.  An experienced personal injury attorney will:

  • Handle all aspects of your legal case so you can focus on your recovery
  • Investigate the incident, collect evidence and establish fault
  • Communicate with insurance companies
  • Consult with experts about your claim

New York is one of many states with a “comparative fault” law, which means the injured person can be held partially responsible for the accident. For example, if an injured person is awarded $100,000 in compensation but is also determined to be 20% at fault, the injured person receives only $80,000 of the award because it is reduced by 20% or $20,000.

Hold Property Owners Accountable

Our firm has decades of success in premises liability cases, recovering fair and full compensation for clients injured due to owners’ negligence in the care and maintenance of apartment buildings, retail stores, hotels, government and private offices, municipalities and more.

All property owners in New York must keep their buildings and land in a safe condition for visitors. When they are negligent by failing to properly inspect properties or deal with potential hazards in a timely fashion, they must be held responsible.

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