Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
The owner or occupier of the property where you fell will likely be liable for your injuries, treatment, and other damages if you have evidence to support your claim that they acted negligently and caused your fall. Slip and falls and trip and falls both support what are known as premises liability claims, depending on the facts of the case. Falls from a height can also support legal action in some cases.
A personal injury attorney working on your case will be able to identify the liable party and help you build a case against them. The goal of this process is to hold the liable party responsible and recover compensation for your damages. Most lawyers take on this type of case on a contingency basis. This means the legal fee is contingent or conditioned upon the lawyer making an actual money recovery for the client. If there is no recovery, there is no legal fee.
Identifying the Liable Party in a Slip or Trip and Fall Accident
In general, the party who had the ability to prevent your injury will be the one who is liable in a premises liability case in New York. This is generally the property owner or occupier, such as a restaurant that leases space.
When your attorney reviews the facts of your case, they will likely be able to narrow down the list of possible liable parties and confirm the primarily liable party during their investigation of your case. The goal of this investigation, in addition to identifying the liable party, is to collect evidence to support your claim and prove the factors necessary to recover compensation in this type of case.
These factors include:
1. Your presence on the property was reasonably foreseeable.
2. The property owner (or another liable party) knew about a hazard—or should have known—but was negligent in failing to deal with, clean, (as with a spill or leak,) repair, (as with broken flooring or steps,) or adequately warn you of, barricade or detour away from, the hazard.
3. Their negligence caused your fall and the resulting injuries.
Once you have enough evidence to understand who the liable party is, your attorney will look into their insurance coverage and identify the policy that will cover your damages if you reach a settlement or secure a court award.
Causes of Falls and Fall Injuries
Many falls are preventable. This includes many trip and falls and slip and falls that occur in restaurants, stores, and other similar spaces, as well as those that occur in private buildings and outdoors. Some hazards that lead to preventable falls include:
- Spills of food, liquid, or other substances
- Tracked water, including rain or snow
- Mopping or waxing improperly
- Rolled rugs or torn carpet
- Items in the walkway, including cords
- Broken tiles or missing tiles
- Uneven surfaces
- Unmarked step-ups or step-downs
- Uneven stairs
- Poor lighting
- Potholes, cracked sidewalks, and other paving issues
- Inadequate, broken, or absent handrails or other railings
In general, most falls are mild. They cause bruising or small lacerations. However, this is certainly not true of all falls. Every year, thousands of people sustain fall injuries that require emergency medical care, hospitalization, and other medical treatment. Injuries include:
- Broken bones, including broken hips, which are especially dangerous for seniors
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Leg, ankle, and knee injuries
- Internal injuries
- In the most severe cases, death.
Pursuing a Slip and Fall Case in Greater NYC
If your attorney reviews the facts of your case and believes you have enough evidence to take legal action, they will consider the statute of limitations that applies to your case, according to Section 214 of the Civil Practice Law & Rules. This will allow them to see if you have enough time left to pursue compensation. If you are eligible, they will go to work pursuing many types of damages, including:
- Medical treatment and related care
- Future or ongoing care costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damages, if applicable
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished life enjoyment
New York law also allows immediate family members of those who lost their lives in this type of accident to receive a wrongful death payout in some cases. Your attorney will help you understand this process and take on your legal case while you work to get through this difficult time.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer for Free Today
If you need a passionate advocate for the injured in greater NYC, we are here for you. At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., our premises liability lawyers will review your case for free and help you understand who might be liable in your slip and fall accident. Call (516) 932-0400 today for your complimentary consultation with one of our slip and fall attorneys serving all of Long Island and the entire New York City metropolitan area.