Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall in New York?
If you were hurt on someone else’s property in New York, you may be entitled to compensation. Recovering compensation after a slip and fall accident requires identifying the proper party to hold responsible and gathering the right kind of proof to demonstrate their liability. Below, we discuss who can and should be held liable after a New York slip and fall. If you were hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall in New York, call an experienced Bronx slip and fall attorney at the Kohn Law Firm for advice and assistance.
When the Premises Owner or Operator is Liable
Property owners and operators have a general responsibility to keep their premises safe for customers, guests, and other visitors. If they fail to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition–if they allow a hazard to persist and that hazard leads to someone’s injury–then they can be held liable. Depending on the circumstances, the liable party may be the building owner, the property renter, or even the general contractor that created the hazard.
Holding a property owner or operator liable after a slip and fall requires showing that you fell because of a hazard on the property. The injured victim must prove that the property owner/operator either created the hazard, was aware of the hazard, or should have been aware of the hazard, and yet failed to either remedy the situation or adequately warn of the situation.
In a grocery store, for example, if a store clerk mops the floor, the wet floor is a hazard. They must either dry the floor or put up a noticeable “wet floor” sign to warn customers of the hazard. If someone slips on a mopped floor because there was no clear warning sign, the store owner would be liable.
If a hazard such as a wet floor is caused by a customer, the store’s liability turns on whether they knew or should have known of the situation at the time the accident occurred. If a customer slips on the spill hours after the spill occurred, it’s reasonable to say the store should have discovered and cleaned up the spill by then. If a customer slips just a few minutes after the spill originally occurred, it might or might not be reasonable to say the store owner should have discovered and remedied the spill before the accident happened.
The victim’s claim may turn on factors such as how long the hazard was present, whether any store employee knew about or had reason to know about the spill, whether the hazard should have been anticipated (e.g., a wet floor caused by customers tracking in snow during a storm), and other circumstances. Proving liability requires a thorough understanding of premises liability and personal injury law.
Sidewalk Slip and Fall
If you slip and fall or trip and fall on a sidewalk in New York, a number of different parties may be responsible. As a general rule, if you fell because of a defective or poorly maintained sidewalk, then the owner of the property that abuts the sidewalk is liable for your injuries. But New York City has an exception to the general rule: If the sidewalk abuts certain private, owner-occupied residences, then the city may be held responsible. The city or the state might also be held liable if the sidewalk is on city- or state-owned property.
Comparative Negligence in New York
Other factors can further complicate liability. For instance, if the victim was also partially negligent, then their percentage of fault might be used to offset their claims.
If the victim was staring at their phone rather than paying attention to where they were walking, for example, or if they were walking in a place where they shouldn’t have been (such as an employee-only area), then they might be held partially to blame. If a jury were to determine that the plaintiff was 40% responsible for their fall, and the plaintiff suffered $10,000 in damages, the plaintiff would be able to recover $6,000 at most (i.e., $10,000 less 40% or $4,000).
Talk to an experienced premises liability attorney to ensure you maximize the value of your slip and fall claim.
Call a Seasoned Bronx Slip and Fall Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a New York slip and fall accident, find out if you’re entitled to monetary damages for your injuries by contacting the dedicated, thorough New York premises liability lawyers at the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation at 718-409-1200.