One of the most common scenarios for injury our Long Island attorneys see is someone getting hurt while they’re on someone else’s property. This sort of injury falls under the legal concept of Premises Liability.
More specifically, the most common type of premises liability injury is slip and fall. As the name suggests, this type of injury happens when a person slips or trips on a hazard, such as a spill or a box, and ends up falling. This could result in injuries as minor as cuts and bruises, or as severe as broken bones or concussions.
The Long Island lawyers at Sarisohn, Carner & DeVita have been representing slip and fall injury victims for over 50 years. We have your back, and we’re ready to take your case. Give us a call at 631-543-7070 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Duty of Care for Premises Liability Cases
When it comes to premise liability cases, one of the most important factors is the property owner’s duty of care to visitors. In general, visitors are divided into three categories: Invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Property owners’ duty of care decreases as you move down this list.
Note that duty of care extends to the owned or leased land outside of a structure. For instance, homeowners have a reasonable duty to keep their sidewalks clear of hazard, and shop owners have a duty to keep their storefronts clear of hazards. This includes snow and ice (with exceptions listed below).
An invitee is someone who has express or implied permission to be on the property for business purposes. This may include a customer at a store or a patient in a hospital. A property owner or manager has the highest duty of care to invitees. They are expected to keep their property reasonably hazard-free and otherwise safe.
For instance, a customer in a store expects to be able to shop without falling. But if there’s a puddle in the store and it hasn’t been marked hazardous or cleaned up, and the customer falls, the property owner or manager can be held liable.
Licensees are also parties who have implied or express permission to be on the property. However, licensees aren’t on the property for business purposes, but rather for their own purposes, like entertainment or amusement. This may include a social guest in a home, or someone going to an amusement park.
Property owners and managers still have a duty of care to licensees, but to a lesser degree than to invitees. The licensee must be warned of dangerous conditions if they are at a reasonable risk of being exposed to them. If there’s risk of injury in an area where the invitee normally wouldn’t or shouldn’t go, the property owner or manager has a lesser duty of care.
For instance, at an amusement park, rickety stairs could be subject premises liability laws. But if there’s a hazard behind a door marked “Employees Only,” and the licensee goes behind the door and gets injured, the property owner or manager may not be held liable.
The final group of visitors is trespassers. As you may be aware, trespassers are visitors who are not legally allowed on the property. This may be a home intruder or someone coming onto the property to commit a crime. Generally, property owners and managers only have the duty to not intentionally harm trespassers, except under certain conditions (such as under New York’s castle doctrine).
There is an exception to this rule, though, when it comes to foreseeable risk of harm. For instance, child trespassers may come onto your property to swim in your pool. Such risks are considered “attractive nuisances,” and property owners or managers must provide a higher duty of care for such risks.
Trespasser laws can be complicated, especially when it comes to children. As such, it’s important to speak with a Long Island lawyer if an injury occurs in a slip and fall.
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Exceptions to the Duty of Care Rule
It’s important to note that, for invitees and licensees, property owners and managers have a reasonable amount of time to fix hazards. To use the store example again, if a customer spills a drink while shopping, then someone immediately slips on it, it may be considered an unforeseeable accident, and the owner or manager may not be held liable.
However, if there’s a spill that’s left unattended for hours on end, and a customer slips and falls, the property owner or manager has likely breached their duty of care and may be held liable for injuries.
There are other important exceptions. For example, in snow and ice cases, the law generally will not impose liability for problems arising while a storm is still underway. In other words, the owner is given a reasonable opportunity to correct a condition after the weather event causing the problem has passed.
Because of the complex rules governing the many different types of fall injuries, it is best to contact one of our personal injury lawyers to discuss your rights.
How a Lawyer Can Help in Premises Liability Cases on Long Island
When it comes to claiming compensation for a slip and fall injury, New York is like most states and adheres to Pure Comparative Fault laws. This means if the case goes to court, the judge or jury will consider how much the injured party contributed to their own injury.
For instance, if a jury determines you are owed $100,000 in compensation for your injury, but you were found 20% at fault, you would only receive $80,000 in compensation.
Because premises liability and pure comparative fault laws can be complicated, it’s important to contact a lawyer if you get injured. At Sarisohn, Carner & DeVita, our personal injury lawyers have been representing victims for over 50 years. We know how to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call us at 631-543-7070 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your legal rights.
You should hire a personal injury attorney if you have suffered any injury due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing, including reckless driving.
Not necessarily. In fact, many personal injury cases, usually around 80% of them, are settled before the litigation process starts. Even if your case does reach the litigation stage, that does not mean that you will have to testify. Attorneys will work together to resolve the claim before or during mediation, making sure the case is not argued in a courtroom.
You should bring any documents pertaining to your injury and the circumstances involved in sustaining that injury. For the injury itself, copies of the medical records for the injury’s treatment and photographs of the injury are critical to bring. As for the circumstances, any police or incident report, insurance company correspondence, vehicle repair estimates, towing receipts, and photographs of the scene of the injury will be useful for any potential personal injury lawyer. Be sure to bring any wage loss information as well.
No, many cases are settled during the demand phase, when we will present an in-depth overview of the case to the party at fault and their representation, if any. This comprehensive summary includes the facts of the case, any pertinent case law, a record of losses and analysis of any potential future out-of-pocket losses, and an estimate of damages as well as supporting documents such as witness statements and medical bills.
Negligence is the lack of reasonable care that results in harm to others. If you are injured in an automobile accident, say, when the at-fault driver collided with you because he fell asleep at the wheel, you can file a personal injury claim due to the driver’s negligence, or his inability to do something a reasonably careful person would normally do (i.e., pull over and sleep).
Not without talking to an experienced personal injury attorney first. You should always assume that any insurance settlement will be in the insurance company’s best interest, first and foremost, and not necessarily in your own.
Before talking to the insurance company, seek and secure legal representation. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you get a fair settlement.
You can recover many different types of damages in a personal injury case, including coverage of past and future medical treatment, pain and suffering, and loss of wages. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney for more details on potential awarded damages.