Being hurt on someone else’s property falls under the concept of premises liability. A slip-and-fall incident is actually a type of premises liability. You’ve probably heard of slip-and-falls before, but you may not realize just how serious these incidents can be. Falling on a wet, dirty, or cluttered surface can not cause minor cuts and bruises, but a serious fall can result in broken bones, brain injury, and chronic pain.
Speak with a Suffolk County slip-and-fall attorney with Carner & DeVita as soon as you can if you’ve suffered an injury on someone else’s property. We’ve represented slip-and-fall injury victims for over 50 years. We have your back, and we’re ready to take your case.
Duty of care in slip-and-fall cases
When it comes to slip-and-fall 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. The level of a property owner’s duty of care decreases as you move down the list.
Note that duty of care extends to the land outside of a structure. For instance, homeowners have a reasonable duty to keep their sidewalks clear of hazards, and shop owners have a duty to keep their storefronts clear of hazards as well. This includes snow and ice (with the exceptions listed below).
An invitee is someone who has expressed 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. If there is a puddle in the store that hasn’t been marked hazardous or cleaned up, and the customer falls, the property owner or manager can be held liable. Let a Suffolk County slip-and-fall attorney hold the responsible party accountable and get you the compensation you deserve.
Licensees also 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. They must warn the licensee of dangerous conditions if there’s a reasonable risk they could be harmed. If there’s a 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 to slip-and-fall 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.
Trespassers are persons who are not legally allowed on a 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, however. 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 Suffolk County personal injury lawyer if an injury occurs in a slip and fall.
Exceptions to the duty of care rule
It’s important to note that property owners and managers have a reasonable amount of time to fix hazards in regard to invitees and licensees.
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. In this case, the owner or manager may not be held liable.
However, if there’s a spill that’s left unattended for hours, and a customer slips and falls, the property owner or manager has likely breached their duty of care. They 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.
How a Suffolk County lawyer can help in your slip and fall case
When it comes to claiming compensation for a slip and fall injury, New York 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 slip-and-fall cases and pure comparative fault laws can be complicated, it’s important to contact a lawyer if you get injured. At Carner & DeVita, our Suffolk County personal injury lawyers have represented victims for over 50 years. We know how to get you the compensation you deserve.
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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.