In New York, property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their premises (including the sidewalk) reasonably maintained. This means removing or repairing any hazardous conditions that could cause foreseeable injury to others. When dangerous conditions cannot be reasonably repaired or promptly removed, visitors must be adequately warned of their presence.
When property owners fail to take reasonable and necessary steps to prevent others from being injured, they can be held legally liable. Victims of slip and fall accidents may be entitled to bring claims against property owners (who are generally afforded coverage from their insurance providers) or sue property owners directly for damages.
To have a case against a property owner, you will typically need to prove the following:
- You were injured
- You were on the property when the incident occurred
- There was a dangerous condition on the property
- The property owner (or another liable party) created the condition, knew about the condition, or should have known about the dangerous or hazardous condition
- The property owner/liable party failed to take reasonable measures to remove, repair, or warn you of the dangerous or hazardous condition
- You were injured because of the dangerous condition
- You were not at fault or only partly at fault for your injuries
Because you are the person bringing the claim, known as the “plaintiff,” you have the burden of proof. This means that you are the one responsible for proving your claim, not the other way around.
At Wolf & Fuhrman LLP, our Bronx slip and fall lawyers know how to investigate slip and fall claims to determine exactly what happened and, most importantly, who was at fault. We work with expert witnesses and other industry professionals who help us identify property owner negligence and wrongful conduct to build powerful and persuasive cases for our clients.
What Are “Dangerous/Hazardous Property Conditions?”
Generally speaking, any condition that exists on a property that could cause foreseeable injury—meaning most people would reasonably understand that the condition might cause someone to be injured—is classified as a “dangerous or hazardous property condition.”
Some examples of dangerous property conditions that frequently lead to slips, trips, and falls include (but are not limited to):
- Wet floors
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Accumulated snow and ice
- Cracks, potholes, and uneven flooring
- Defective steps or stairs
- Missing handrails
- Unsafe structures
- Falling merchandise
- Defective sidewalks
- Sidewalk flags that are misleveled
- Tree root growth that has caused sidewalk flags to angle, crack, and/or create tripping hazards
- Cluttered walkways or aisles
- Ripped or torn carpeting
- Improper or missing signage, including warning signs
If you slipped, tripped, and/or fell on someone else’s property due to any of these or another dangerous condition or hazard, you could be entitled to financial compensation for your damages.
Uncleared Sidewalks and Pathways
The Bronx sees a lot of foot traffic and has many sidewalks and pathways intended for public access. The owners of these walkways are responsible for having any debris, snow, or ice cleared or prevented. As you have probably noticed, not everyone is mindful of this. By neglecting this maintenance, property owners are taking on a significant risk. If anyone has an accident on their property, they can be held liable.
In addition to keeping these areas clean, they must also be properly maintained in other ways. Sidewalks and pathways must be installed and constructed properly as well as repaved, repaired or replaced properly as needed.
New York law is very specific about the requirements for sidewalks, and if you were injured do to an unmaintained sidewalk, you should definitely speak with a lawyer.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Slip and Fall Case?
Although many people think of slip and fall accidents as not that serious, the fact is, these incidents lead to thousands of devastating injuries and deaths every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 percent of all falls result in serious injuries, including head injuries and broken bones.
The severity of fall-related injuries means that many victims face significant physical impairments, brain damage, and financial hardships. They may be hospitalized and/or require extensive medical care, including ongoing rehabilitation, therapy, and other treatments. Victims may be unable to return to work, temporarily or permanently, meaning they cannot provide for themselves or their families as they once did.
By filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit after a slip and fall accident, you can seek financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical care costs, including physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Home modification costs
- In-home assistance
- Medical equipment and devices
While older people (those aged 65 and up) have a higher risk of falling and sustaining serious injuries due to a fall, anyone can slip, trip, and/or fall—and any incident can have devastating consequences. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, globally, falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths.
If your loved one died due to a serious slip, trip, and/or fall, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to your loved one’s final medical care
- Funeral and/or burial costs
- Financial support the deceased would have provided
- Lost inheritance
- Pain and suffering consciously endured by the deceased before death
- The value of parent care, nurturing, guidance, and support
- The value of support/services provided by the deceased
- Interest, calculated from the time of death
What Can a Slip & Fall Attorney Do for Me?
A slip and fall attorney can provide several valuable services for individuals who have been injured in a slip and fall accident.
Here are some things a slip and fall attorney can do:
Legal Expertise: Slip and fall attorneys specialize in personal injury law and have extensive knowledge and experience in handling cases related to slip and fall accidents. They understand the laws and regulations that apply to these cases and can provide guidance based on their expertise.
Investigation: A slip and fall attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. They will gather evidence, interview witnesses, review surveillance footage (if available), and assess the liability of the property owner or other parties involved.
Determining Liability: One of the crucial roles of a slip and fall attorney is to determine who is liable for the accident. They will analyze the facts, assess negligence or fault, and identify responsible parties. This is essential in building a strong case for compensation.
Building a Strong Case: Slip and fall attorneys know how to build a compelling case on behalf of their clients. They will gather all necessary evidence, documents, and medical records to support your claim. They will also handle any required paperwork and legal procedures to ensure your case is presented effectively.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Slip and fall attorneys are skilled negotiators who can handle discussions and negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf. They will advocate for your rights and work to secure a fair settlement that compensates you for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Litigation Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, a slip and fall attorney will be prepared to take your case to court. They will represent you during litigation, presenting your case before a judge and jury and fighting for your rights and the compensation you deserve.
Maximizing Compensation: Slip and fall attorneys are dedicated to maximizing the compensation their clients receive. They will assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and future costs related to your injuries. They will work diligently to ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your losses.
Our slip and fall attorneys in the Bronx can review your situation and guide you through the legal process. We have helped many individuals and families with complex personal injury and wrongful death cases, including claims involving slips, trips, and falls throughout New York City.