If you slip and fall on a business’s premises, New York state may hold the property owner or business operator liable for your injury, and you may be eligible for compensation. If this applies to you or someone you know, the following is everything you need to know about the legal process regarding slip and fall accidents in New York, and how to maximize your compensation for any and all resulting damages.
- What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
- New York Slip and Fall Statistics
- Slip and Fall Laws in New York
- How to File a Slip and Fall Claim in New York
- Average Slip and Fall Verdicts & Settlements in New York
- Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer in New York
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident (also called a trip and fall, depending on how you fell) is an incident where a person is injured due to hazardous environmental conditions while on a business’s premises. These conditions could be the result of a company’s negligence, or simply the weather at the time.
Whatever the cause, companies are always responsible for maintaining a safe environment where injury from unstable or slippery surfaces is an impossibility. At the very least, they are responsible for warning employees and customers when an environment is not safe to stand or walk on. As a result, all slip and fall accidents are worth investigating to determine whether a victim should file a lawsuit, and receive compensation for any injuries or damages.
Legitimate Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in New York
- Broken or uneven sidewalks
- Water or liquid on a company’s floor, or in front of a store entrance
- Broken or uneven steps in an office or apartment building
- Uncleared ice or snow around walkways of a business
- Slippery surfaces due to a company’s (or landlord’s) failure to fix a leak
- Falls due to ongoing construction
- Lack of salting icy sidewalks or roads
- Inadequate lighting on a walkway
- Failure to post warning signs
New York Slip and Fall Statistics
Here are some fast facts about and fall accidents in New York, according to the New York Department of Health:
- An average of 52,673 hospitalizations due to slip and fall incidents occur every year
- Fall-related injuries are the leading cause of hospitalizations among children aged 0 to 14, as well as adults 25 years and older
- Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for those 45 years and older.
- The NY Department of Health states that falls are most often not accidental, but occur in predictable patterns and come with recognizable risk factors and among identifiable populations.
- Most often, injuries due to falling are predictable and preventable events, which means that fall injuries are often the fault of someone.
Slip and Fall Laws in New York
If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident in New York, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses. This is especially true if you can prove that the property owner or business was negligent, and this negligence resulted in an injury or medical condition that you didn’t have prior to your fall.
NY Premises Liability Laws
New York premises liability laws dictate that property owners need to maintain all of their properties in a “reasonably safe condition.” The legal definition of “reasonably safe” conditions are subject to interpretation, and determined by a court of law on a case-by-case basis. If the premises on which you fell is considered to be reasonably safe, the company responsible for owning or operating the premises will not be held liable for your injuries.
When a property is not maintained in a reasonably safe condition, you can often receive compensation for your medical bills, as the company responsible for the premises will be held liable for your fall. It is important to note that premises liability must be proven in the form of video or photographic evidence in most cases. Witness information can also be helpful.
Because of this, it is always recommended to have an attorney that is experienced in slip and fall cases, who knows how to argue whether or not the conditions of the premises that caused you to fall were not “reasonably safe.”
NY Slip & Fall Statute of Limitations
New York’s statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is three years, in keeping with the regulations for most US states. This time limit begins counting down starting on the date of your falling incident itself, and not from the date that your injury was diagnosed, nor when you first became aware of your injury. As a result, it’s critical that you take steps to find an excellent slip and fall or personal injury attorney as soon as you can after your accident.
This statute of limitations also applies if property damage occurred because of the slip and fall accident. If you had any assets including clothing or accessories that were damaged as a result of your slip and fall, you can also be compensated for any damages. The statute of limitations for filing this type of claim begins on the date of the accident, and not necessarily when you first recognized your property was damaged.
New York has a “pure comparative negligence rule” that regulates how much compensation a victim can recover from the property owner of the premises where they fell, based on the negligence of the victim at the time of their incident. Most often, property owners will defend any slip and fall lawsuit filed against them by claiming that the victim was at least partly at fault for any injuries sustained. This cuts down on the amount they will owe victims, or in rare cases, excuse them from all charges completely.
The pure comparative negligence rule will award you compensation based on the percentage of your responsibility for the slip and fall. As an example, if you are ruled to be 50% at fault for your slip and fall injuries, you will only receive 50% of the damages awarded from the property owner, which may include medical bills and lost income.
Victims can be considered at least partly at fault for slip and fall injuries for lots of reasons. For instance, failing to pay attention to signs or orange cones that warn customers of unsafe conditions can be seen as willingly avoiding steps the property owner took to minimize the risk of injury. One can also be found at least partly at fault if he or she wasn’t paying attention to the surroundings while traveling, including cases where they were seen texting or distracted by a cell phone at the time of the incident.
How to File a Slip and Fall Claim in New York
Filing a claim and/or lawsuit for your fall can help you recover financially by supplementing your income while you’re unable to work, as well as physically, by covering your medical expenses.
Slip and fall lawsuits typically begin with the victim filing a claim with the insurance company of the company that owns the premises. These can result in collecting slip and fall settlements from worker’s compensation, or in more severe cases, social security disability insurance.
Victims of a slip and fall also have the option of filing for a personal injury lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Slip and fall cases can result in some of the largest settlement checks possible in personal injury law — especially in cases where the premises is owned by large corporate chains.
If you are the victim of a slip and fall, and are unsure whether you want to file a personal injury claim, call 855-468-7626 for a free consultation with a New York slip and fall injury lawyer.
Documents Needed Before Filing a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
*Keep in mind that a personal injury attorney can help you locate and organize the following documents, which maximize your chance for filing a successful claim:
- Any photos and/or video surveillance footage that shows your fall occuring on the premises you’re filing a claim against
- Any witness testimonies you can find
- All medical records directly relating to services and treatments for your injury
- A record of income losses resulting from missing work due to your injury
How to Prove Slip & Fall Liability in 3 Steps
Successfully proving that your slip and fall was a result of the property owner’s negligence instead of your own generally relies on the following three conditions:
- You must prove that there is a dangerous condition that was the primary cause of your slip and fall injuries or damages. This may involve a video or photographic evidence, as well as evidence of your injuries.
- You must identify whether the property owner was the one responsible for the presence of the dangerous condition. For instance, the property owner may not be held at fault if you slipped and fell in front of their store before they had a reasonable chance to take care of icy sidewalks.
- You must prove that the responsible party either created—or was at the very least aware of—the dangerous condition that caused your slip and fall event.
Proving a property owner to be completely at fault for a slip and fall can be difficult, due to the interpretive nature of events. Finding an experienced slip and fall attorney to argue your case in court is common among the vast majority of winning cases in New York.
Average Slip and Fall Verdicts & Settlements in New York
Slip and fall settlements in New York City and other areas can vary dramatically from case to case. Compensation can range from as little as $1,000, to six-digit settlements awarded to some slip and fall victims. The total amount received through compensation depends on variables including the strength of your lawsuit, and how much monetary value is calculated for the damages you suffered.
Damages can very due to several factors, including:
- The county in which the slip and fall took place
- The total costs of any medical bills you may have
- Lost income as a result of missing work, directly due to your injury
- The severity of your pain and suffering from your incident, which is largely subjective, and will be argued and determined in court.
Slip and Fall Settlements in New York City
Settlements for slip and fall cases in certain areas of New York City are some of the largest of their kind in the nation. In fact, slip and fall accidents that occur specifically in the Bronx have set records for awarding victims with the largest settlements for slip and fall accidents in the entire United States.
These cases involved slip and fall victims that filed claims against some of the nation’s largest retail chain locations in the Bronx. They immediately hired experienced slip and fall attorneys in NYC, who helped them argue their cases, and reach high six-figure settlements.
Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer in New York
A slip and fall story doesn’t have to have a sad ending. At Sobo & Sobo, you can find experienced legal representation who can get you the compensation you need for recovery. Don’t let a single accident throw your life into disarray. Contact them today by calling 855-468-7626 for a free consultation with a New York slip and fall lawyer near you!