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Accidents can happen to the best of us. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries account for 97.9 million visits to the emergency department each year. When your injuries were caused by someone else, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for your losses.
This includes slip and fall accidents. If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them if they failed to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner. Through this type of injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping injury victims get the money that they are entitled to under New York law. Based in Melville, we represent clients throughout Long Island. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall, reach out to our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced premises liability attorney.
If someone is injured on your property are you liable? Find out by contacting us for a free consultation!
When Can I File a Claim for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents happen all too frequently. Common causes of these types of accidents include:
- Spills that have been left on the floor
- Inadequately lit walkways and hallways
- Ice, snow, or water surrounding the property
- Floors cluttered with debris
- Unsecured merchandise
- Slick, slippery, or waxy walkways
- Wet floors
- Inadequately lit walking paths
- Haphazardly placed floor mats
- Broken sidewalks
- Torn carpet
- Unexpected flooring changes
- Poor lighting
- Narrow stairs
- Wet floors
- Rainy, icy, or snowy sidewalks
- Hidden hazards
- Defective sidewalk
Whether you are at a neighbor’s home or a grocery store, you may be able to file a premises liability claim for your injuries if you are hurt due to dangerous conditions on their property.
Premises liability is a special type of personal injury case. Homeowners, business owners, and even renters can be held financially responsible for any injuries that result from their negligence or carelessness. These claims can be filed against owners of private property, renters of a residential or commercial property, and even a city or town if you fall on public property.
To file a premises liability claim in New York, you must prove the following:
- You were lawfully on the property, either by invitation, to do business, or because you were hired to work there.
- The property owner or occupier knew about an unsafe or dangerous condition on their property.
- The property owner or occupier was negligent in correcting this unsafe condition or warning others about it.
- You were injured as a result of their negligence.
- You suffered losses (damages)
Importantly, if you are trespassing on another person’s property, then you probably cannot file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. People generally do not owe a duty of care to trespassers on their property. However, there is an exception for what is known as an “attractive nuisance” that may entice children to come onto your property, such as a pool. Kids who are hurt while trespassing on someone else’s property may be able to file a claim against the homeowner.
To recover through this type of personal injury claim, the property owner must also be aware of the dangerous condition – or should have been aware with the exercise of reasonable diligence. For example, consider a situation where someone drops a jar of marinara at a grocery store, creating a slippery floor. If a second customer falls before store employees are even made aware of the spill, then the store is probably not financially liable for their injuries. However, if the store had notice of the spill and did not clean it up or put up signs warning about the wet floor, then they may be held responsible.
In New York, the principle of contributory negligence also applies to premises liability claims. This means that if you were somewhat responsible for your fall, any damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
For instance, if you are determined to be 40% at fault for your slip and fall injuries, that is how much your compensation will be reduced. For example, you may be determined partially responsible for the accident if a witness states that you stepped across caution tape that had roped off a dangerous area. In this case, you may share partial responsibility for any ensuing injuries.
If you file a lawsuit for damages as a result of a slip and fall accident, the property owner may attempt to fight back and avoid paying you fair compensation for your injuries. It’s smart to have an idea of some of the counter-arguments the property owner could use in order to skirt some or all of the responsibility over to you. Here are some of the possible counter-arguments a property owner may use:
- You were in an area of the property where visitors shouldn’t be or are not anticipated to be.
- You weren’t concentrating on where you were going. (For example, you were looking down at your smartphone.)
- Your shoes were inadequate or dangerous for the conditions.
- The hazardous region was sectioned off through the use of cones and signs. (In other words, rational steps were taken to protect guests.)
- You should have noticed the unsafe environment.
Premises liability claims can be complicated. If you have been hurt in a fall on someone else’s property, the best way to understand your legal rights is by scheduling a free initial consultation with a Long Island slip and fall accident attorney.
What Compensation Am I Entitled to for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are hurt in a slip and fall, you may be able to recover financial compensation (damages) from the at-fault party. There are three types of damages that you may be entitled to: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages compensate accident victims for their direct financial losses. They are usually proven by medical bills, invoices, pay stubs, and other documentation. Examples of economic damages include:
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Medical expenses for doctor’s appointments, surgery, hospitalizations, physical therapy, and other costs
- Future medical treatment
Non-economic damages cover an injury victim’s intangible losses. These types of damages are harder to prove because you do not receive a bill for emotional trauma. A skilled slip and fall accident lawyer will consult with experts and use their knowledge of similar cases to prove that you are entitled to compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Finally, punitive damages may be available in some cases where the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly. Punitive damages are meant to penalize a wrongdoer. Because most personal injury cases involve negligence, they may not be awarded in your case. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine if your case qualifies for punitive damages.
The best way to get maximum compensation for your injuries after a slip and fall accident is to hire legal representation. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to make sure that you get a fair settlement for your losses. An attorney will work hard to prove that you get the money that you deserve.
Who Can I Sue for My Slip and Fall Accident?
If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident, it’s natural to wonder who can be held liable for your injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, a number of parties may be held responsible.
In general, there are two main parties that may be responsible for slip and fall injuries, depending on where the unsafe condition existed: a local government or a private property owner.
You may be able to hold the local government responsible for a slip and fall accident if it occurred on a public sidewalk or other public property that:
- Is on public property or in a public area,
- Is not adequately maintained to city standards,
- Is not marked clearly for construction repairs, or
- Connects a one, two, or three-family home inhabited by the property owner as a residence.
You may become injured if you slip and fall on a sidewalk when ice and snow are present or if the sidewalk flags are uneven. It is also possible to slip and fall as a result of construction hazards that are not marked clearly enough for all passersby.
If you slip and fall on a sidewalk that is in front of any place other than a one, two, or three-family home, the property owner will likely be held responsible for all of the costs associated with your injuries. Consequently, business and rental property owners must maintain the sidewalks that connect their properties.
The city of New York was once responsible for making sure the sidewalks were maintained, but that changed in 2003. From then on, icy sidewalks and maintenance related to broken sidewalks have primarily fallen on the property owner.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Long Island Slip and Fall Accident?
After falling down, one of the most important things that you should do is to seek medical attention. Once you get medical care, your next step should be to contact a personal injury attorney. This is the best way that you can protect your rights as an injured person.
The responsible party’s insurance company may reach out to you immediately after your accident. They may ask you to give a statement, sign paperwork, or agree to a settlement. While it may be tempting to work with the insurance adjuster to get a settlement and move forward with your life, this can often backfire.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They do this by denying or minimizing legitimate claims – including premises liability claims made against homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies. You can fight back against shady insurance company tactics by hiring a Long Island slip and fall attorney to help you get maximum compensation.
The bottom line? If you are hurt due to hazardous conditions on someone else’s property, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury law firm as soon as possible. In Long Island, call our law office today to schedule an appointment with a member of our legal team.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
In New York, the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is 3 years. With a few exceptions, you have up to 3 years to start a legal action for a slip and fall accident. If a person is a minor at the time of the slip and fall, they have 3 years from their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit in this time period, then your claim may be dismissed. For wrongful death claims, you have 2 years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.
Importantly, there are different procedures for filing a claim against a municipality or the state, with a much shorter period of time (90 days) to file a notice of claim. After the notice of claim is filed, you then have 1 year and 90 days to file a lawsuit.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are aggressive advocates for injury victims throughout Long Island. If you have been hurt in a slip and fall, call our law office today to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your claim.
How Much Is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
The value of any personal injury case depends on a number of factors, including how serious the injuries were and whether liability is contested. Generally, more severe injuries will result in a higher settlement or verdict at trial. For example, a person who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a fall will typically recover more than a person who suffered a sprain and contusions after falling on a broken sidewalk.
During a no-cost, no-obligation legal consultation, a Long Island slip and fall accident attorney can give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your case. Reach out to The Odierno Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help you.
I Fell on a Family Member’s Property. Can I Really Sue Them?
We all carry homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for a reason: to protect ourselves and others in the event of an accident. If you are hurt on a loved one’s property, you will generally not need to sue them directly in order to recover financial compensation for your losses. Instead, you will make a claim against their insurance policy.
In this way, you can get the money that you need to move forward after an accident – and it won’t affect your family member’s financial stability because their insurer will pay for any settlement or verdict at trial. In Long Island, contact The Odierno Law Firm to talk to a slip and fall accident lawyer.
How We Can Help
Being hurt in a fall can be incredibly traumatic, and can result in serious injuries that can affect your ability to work and take care of yourself. Whether you have suffered a neck injury, a shoulder injury, a brain injury, or any other type of injury, our law firm is here for you. We’ll fight for your right to full compensation.
With more than 150 years of combined experience, The Odierno Law Firm has the knowledge and skill necessary to get our clients the money that they deserve. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you never pay a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island personal injury lawyer, give our law office a call at 631-752-8580 or fill out our online contact form.
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