In New York slip and fall cases, there are specific criteria to determine the liability of the property owner. In other words, not all falls on someone else’s property are necessarily the property owner’s fault. If you or a loved one has been injured and are interested in filing a slip and fall suit, it’s advisable to consult a lawyer about the circumstances before moving forward.
There is a burden of proof in such cases, and it will fall to you and your legal counsel to fulfill that requirement. If liability can be proven, however, you may be able to redeem the price you’ve paid for your injury with an award of damages from the property owner.
Four criteria determine the validity of a slip and fall case
- Was there a defective or unsafe condition that caused the accident? There must be fact-based evidence to support the condition. The court will then decide whether the defect is “trivial” or not, which is usually determined by the facts of the case and the opinion of the jury. A “trivial” defect would mean that it is too small a defect to be actionable. Another disqualifier would be if the unsafe condition is too obvious to constitute liability. Fact-based evidence like photographs, witness statements and whether the fall was reported can be crucial to a slip and fall case.
- Who is responsible for the unsafe condition? Liability is typically assigned to the owner or primary user (aka renter) of the property where the fall occurred.
- What are the conditions of liability for the property owner and the requirements for the conduct of the injured person? If it cannot be shown that the property owner created the defect, you must prove that the owner had actual knowledge or notice of the condition. If someone drops a banana peel outside a supermarket, and you slip on it moments later, this is not necessarily the owner’s fault. However, if a construction defect leading to uneven concrete steps caused your fall, the owner is likely to be found liable. For storms and weather-related obstacles, the property owner is given a reasonable amount of time to correct the unsafe condition. With regards to conduct of the injured party, the jury will consider if that party is culpable in some way for the accident.
- Do you need expert support? Some cases will not require experts. However, others might benefit from a statement from an architectural expert or a meteorologist, for example. Having an expert in your corner can mean the difference between success and defeat.
Slip and fall cases are costly for both the injured individual and the property owner. They say the pride goes before the fall, but pain and suffering are the true price for in a slip and fall case. Recouping medical bills may feel like small consolation, but it can still make a lawsuit worthwhile. If you’ve been hurt in a fall, speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney at Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, PLLC can help you understand your options.