When we enter someone else’s home or business, we have a reasonable expectation that the property will be safe. Under New York law, all property owners have a legal duty to maintain their property and keep it reasonably safe for guests and customers. When a person becomes injured on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence, he or she can bring a premises liability lawsuit.
Proving liability in a premises liability lawsuit is essential to succeed in your claim. How do you prove that the property owner acted negligently? In New York, you will need to prove that the property owner failed to keep his or her property safe from “foreseeable harm.” The first type of foreseeable risk involves physical impact. The second type is related to the situation itself that caused the accident. The plaintiffs will need to show that the defendant fails to see a threat that a reasonable person would know was severe enough to cause substantial injuries.
Foreseeable Risk of Harm
What is a foreseeable risk of harm? When answering this question, New York courts will look at the predictability of the harm. For example, if an accident was so bizarre and unique that no reasonable person could have predicted that the harm would have happened, the property owner will not be liable. However, when a reasonable person would have predicted that someone could have been injured from the harm on the property owner’s premises, he or she will be liable for any injuries that result.
Suppose a property owner has an accumulation of ice and snow on their driveway. They do not clear it away within a reasonable time frame, and this property owner knows that guests frequently walk on the driveway and that neighborhood children often play on the surface. In this situation, should someone slip and fall, he or she would likely be able to prove that the accident is a foreseeable risk of harm.
On the other hand, suppose a property owner keeps a circular saw in a shed in his backyard. The saw is tucked away on a shelf and is unplugged. He invites her friend to come to watch his dog while he is out of town. His friend goes rummaging through the shed, plugs in the saw, and cuts one of his fingers off. The friend was not using the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and he had also had a few alcoholic drinks when the accident happened.
When Does Comparative Fault Apply?
Many defendants and insurance companies will try to blame you as the injured party. They will say that you received an injury on the defendant’s property was partially or completely because of your negligence or recklessness. It is important to begin the personal liability process and allow your attorney as much time as possible to investigate your accident thoroughly. The more evidence you can find that shows you were not responsible for the accident, the more likely you will obtain compensation for your personal injury.
How Will a Premises Liability Lawyer Help?
After suffering a severe injury, many people are overwhelmed and do not want to think about the possibility of going through a lawsuit. Recovering from a serious injury can take significant emotional and physical and energy, and we understand why so many people feel too overwhelmed to reach out and speak with a premises liability lawyer. However, when a property owner’s negligence caused your injuries, it is essential to meet with an attorney.
You do not want to lose the opportunity to recover all of your medical costs, the cost of medical equipment, compensation for your lost work time, as well as non-economic damages for pain and suffering. You and your family could benefit from years to come after securing an insurance settlement or a personal injury verdict from a New York Court.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
If you suffered an injury in a commercial building, such as in a store or business, you might be able to file an insurance claim with the property owner’s insurance company. Filing a claim with the property owner’s insurance company may seem less aggressive than going through the court system. Unfortunately, most commercial insurance companies are more concerned with their profit margins than they are with providing adequate compensation for personal injury victims.
Most commercial insurance companies will attempt to contact you immediately after the accident when you are most vulnerable. They will ask to take a statement from you in hopes that you will unintentionally admit fault for the accident. Insurance companies know that they will not have to pay you compensation if you were at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. You need an experienced lawyer on your side who can negotiate assertively with the insurance company to show that the property owner failed to prevent a foreseeable risk of harm from happening. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a reasonable amount for your injuries and property damage, we will take your case to trial and advocate for you there.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer Today
At Stanley Law Offices, we offer our potential new clients a free initial consultation, so you will not have to pay anything to speak with our legal team. You will walk away having a better understanding of whether you have a personal injury lawsuit claim. We will advocate for you every step of the way, and you will rest easy knowing that our skilled lawyers are working diligently on your behalf to secure compensation for you and your family. We represent clients throughout New York. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.