People who have been injured by slipping, tripping and falling because of the neglect on the part of a property owner or other responsible party (such as a business renting the space) are entitled to compensation for their injuries. New York courts may hold negligent property owners liable for injury and require them to pay compensation for medical bills and lost income.
Slip and Fall Cases Depend on Whether Someone was Negligent
While not all accidents are avoidable, property owners and their tenants are expected to take precautions to prevent injuries particularly when they have notice of the condition. They are also expected to make repairs in a timely manner.
Negligence is when an owner is aware of an unsafe situation, or should have been aware, and does not take action to address it. Examples include failing to maintain stairways with secure handrails, provide adequate lighting, anti-slip materials, making sure carpet is firmly in place without tears or bumps, and cleaning up spills.
What to Do If You are Injured in a Fall
If you slip and fall, try to get witnesses’ contact information, including any police or ambulance responders who file accident reports. If you fall at someone’s business, let a manger know and s/he should complete an accident report. If you can, take a photo of the accident scene or ask a companion to do so. As soon as you can, write down what happened for your own notes.
Most importantly, get medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you are hurt, you should get checked by a doctor because some internal injuries aren’t always immediately apparent.
Insurance Companies and Accident Claims
You may get a call from the owner’s insurance company after your accident. You are under no obligation to speak to the insurance company when they call. Insurance companies will do their best to make it look like you, and not their client, were negligent. It is highly advisable to first speak with an attorney with a personal injury practice such as Belluck & Fox. Any statement you give to the insurance company will be recorded.
Partial Fault in New York Slip/Trip and Fall Cases
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and believe you were responsible, don’t let this prevent you from investigating whether you have a legitimate case. This is particularly true if your accident left you with serious injuries that interfere with your normal day-to-day activities or your ability to work.
Comparative Negligence is a Defense Used in Slip and Fall Injuries
Most of the time, defendants in a slip and fall case will try to demonstrate that the injured party was responsible for the accident. In reality, juries are more likely to agree that both bear some responsibility. Shared responsibility is called comparative negligence.
New York law allows juries to consider if comparative negligence was a factor in a slip and fall accident. Juries can be instructed by a judge to decide the percentage of fault for each side and monetary damages to a plaintiff are awarded according to this percentage.
The burden is on the defendant to prove you were responsible, at least in part, for your accident.
Example of Comparative Negligence in New York
As an example, if you are talking on your cell phone on the way down a staircase and fall and break your arm, because the stairs did not have anti-skid mats, as required.
A broken arm can be serious, particularly if you care for a young child, are employed, or are a student. A broken arm may make it hard to use computer, drive, or work.
However, because you were on your phone, the defendant may claim you were at least partly at fault for your accident. If the jury agrees, your award will be reduced by the amount it says you were responsible for your injury. It will not prevent you from recovering for your injuries, but may reduce the amount you collect.
Contact a personal injury lawyer to get important guidance on how to handle a slip, trip and fall accident.
Under New York law if you have been injured in an accident on someone’s property due to the property owner’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. In some circumstances, such as a fall on government-owned property, the deadline for filing a claim may be as short as 90 days. If you have been injured in an accident, contact Belluck & Fox immediately.