Under the law, property owners have a responsibility to maintain safe premises, and when they do not, they may be subject to premises liability claims. Whether in a grocery store, a public park, on school grounds, or in a parking lot, a standard of care exists for maintaining a property. Dangers risk injury and many injuries are preventable. Owners and property or business managers have a duty to notify people of danger or correct the hazardous condition. If you or a loved one suffered injury caused by property owner negligence, speak with a qualified Long Island premises liability attorney.
What Is Premises Liability?
“Premises liability” refers to an owner’s legal responsibility for the safety and upkeep of a property. All land and property owners owe duties of care to those on their properties. These duties include eliminating unsafe or defective conditions on the property. Failing to do so, resulting in an accident such as a slip and fall, is negligence. Like most personal injury claims, premises liability cases center on the legal doctrine of negligence.
In New York, premises liability laws state that if an owner’s negligence contributed to causing your injury, the owner is liable. If you have the necessary elements to prove your claim, a judge or jury could award you compensation for your damages. Even if you’re a trespasser, you may have grounds for a claim. Contact us for a more in-depth review of premises liability in New York.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
While slip and fall injuries are the most common type of premises liability case, many other types of premises liability also exist that result in serious injury or death.
Premises liability law encompasses situations in which property owners may be liable, such as:
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Pool drowning
- Toxic exposure
- Inadequate security to prevent criminal assault (lack of lights or surveillance)
- Falling trees
- Falling objects from shelves
- Fires (caused by building code violations)
- Building collapse
- Dangerous amusement park rides
If you were injured in any of the above scenarios, reach out to a seasoned Long Island premises liability attorney to learn more about your available legal options.
If someone is injured on your property are you liable?
Property owners do not automatically assume liability for incidents that happen on their premises. Instead, it is up to the injured victim to prove the owner’s legal responsibility. You might be liable for someone else’s injuries on your property if you could have reasonably done something more or should have done something to prevent the accident. For example, if you knew that your staircase had a loose railing but did nothing to repair it or to warn visitors, you might be liable if someone falls down the stairs after the railing gives way.
Even social guests, such as friends or family you invite over for a birthday party, could hold you liable for accidents on your property. However, your duties of care are generally not as extensive with social guests as with people who are paying customers at a business. You do not have to inspect your property for unknown or hidden dangers before welcoming social guests. You do have to warn them of known or potential hazards. If you are a business owner, your customers require the highest standards of care.
Understanding your potential liability for an incident often requires a consultation with a Long Island premises liability lawyer. Our attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, have a great deal of experience with these types of claims. We can investigate the case against you and tell you if we believe the plaintiff has a claim. We can break down New York’s premises liability laws from the perspective of a property owner to help you understand your role and legal accountability for a recent incident on your land.
What types of hazards could exist at a dangerous property?
Many different types of hazards can make a property dangerous. Some are obvious, such as spilled chemicals on a factory floor, while others are more hidden or discreet. While New York law does not expect property owners to be all-knowing, the law does expect owners to take reasonable steps to find and remedy property hazards.
Dangerous property conditions include:
- Slip, trip, or fall hazards
- Collapsing or unstable structures
- Dangerous clutter
- Poor property maintenance
- Inadequate security
In most cases, an owner will be liable for accidents that happen on a dangerous property. Owning a dangerous property is an act of negligence. Although the courts will examine the responsibilities and actions of the property owner for a specific case, being in charge of a dangerous or defective property comes with a high probability that the courts will find the landowner liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
One of the lesser-known reasons someone could hold a property owner liable for injuries is inadequate or negligent security. Most victims of assault, robbery, or acts of violence don’t realize that someone other than the perpetrator could be liable for damages. Part of one’s duties as a property owner is to prevent crime. Again, the courts do not expect property owners to be all-knowing; however, they do expect owners to take steps to reasonably prevent foreseeable crimes.
Foreseeability of crime is one of the main elements in proving negligent security. If someone mugged you in a parking lot with no history of this type of crime, the property owner might not be liable for failing to prevent the incident. If, however, the owner reasonably should have known about the history of muggings in the area, it would make this crime foreseeable. In this case, the property owner has a duty to try to prevent the crime from happening.
Steps an owner could take to prevent crime include providing security guards, properly lit ATMs or parking lots, gates/fences, window bars and locks, and signs stating that no money is on the property. It is often easier to bring a claim against a property owner than to bring one against the criminal. If police cannot locate the criminal, you could still recover financial compensation from the at-fault property owner. Moreover, a property owner is more likely to have insurance that can pay for your settlement or jury verdict.
Proving Negligence in Long Island Premises Liability Cases
If you live on Long Island and you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may have a right to sue to recover compensation for your losses. Proving owner negligence is pivotal for winning a premises liability case. Your Long Island premises liability attorney must be able to prove that:
- A dangerous property condition existed
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition
- The owner had time to warn, repair or eliminate the hazard
Because owners frequently repair the dangerous condition after someone is injured, it is important to photograph the hazard as soon as possible after the accident occurs. Obtaining the contact information for any witnesses and getting their statements about what occurred is also helpful for your case.
The sooner you retain a Long Island injury lawyer experienced in premises liability claims, the better your chances you have to preserve essential evidence, which vital for achieving a favorable outcome.
Your Legal Right to Compensation
In a premises liability claim, you have the right to seek compensation for expenses incurred as a result of the injury, such as medical bills, transportation costs, and other money spent on assistance. Your lawyer may also file for damages for pain and suffering, which may include emotional trauma, disfigurement, physical discomfort, and loss of normal life-enhancing capabilities.
Our Long Island premises liability attorneys handle all slip or trip and fall, as well as other premises liability claims, on a contingency fee basis. If we are unable to recover compensation for your loss, we will not charge you a fee.
Contact a Long Island Premises Liability Lawyer New York Today
If you have a Suffolk County premises liability claim, you need experienced personal injury lawyers to protect your rights and help you get full and fair compensation for your losses. Call the law firm of Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP at (631) 451-7900 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.