Every year millions of people are treated for accidents related to slip and fall injuries. Sadly, many of these accidents could be avoided. According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the top three preventable injuries. Persons aged 65 and older and construction workers are two of the highest risk groups, but a slip and fall accident can happen to anyone in many different circumstances.
New York property owners, both commercial and residential, have a duty to take reasonable care to make sure other people aren’t injured on their property.
“If you, or someone you care about, suffered an injury due to a slip and fall in New York, the law firm of O’Dwyer & Bernstien has been a committed advocate for personal injury victims throughout all five boroughs for more than 100 years.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
Where Do Slip And Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip (or trip) and fall accidents can occur anywhere. They can happen while on the job site, at a restaurant, personal residence, mall, theatre, museum, school, office building, government building, hotel, job site, or walking along a sidewalk, to name a few.
Many accidents occur due to hazardous conditions. If this is the case, the owner of the location where you fell could be liable for the accident, especially if it’s proven they didn’t uphold their duty and were negligent in keeping a safe environment for people visiting their property. In cases of a dangerous condition being present, the victim can file a premises liability claim.
Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents
Major causes of premises liability claims include uneven or slippery surfaces, but this is only one cause. There are numerous other types of slip and fall accidents, including, but not limited to the following:
- Wet floors
- Exposed wires or hoses
- Raised flooring
- Broken floor tiling
- Poorly lit sidewalks or walkways
- Falling objects
- Exposed potholes or other holes
- Unstable stairs and railings
- Snow or icy parking lots
- Cluttered store floors (or falling items from overstuffed shelves)
Any of these accidents can result in a serious injury. Victims of slip and fall accidents often sustain sprains, broken bones, ligament or tendon tears, cuts, abrasions, contusions, spinal cord injuries, or head injuries.
“Liability can be difficult to prove, especially if the property owner or contractor fixes the hazardous condition after the fact. This is why it’s important to talk to a New York slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible after an accident so evidence of the hazards can be documented.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
What is a Premises Liability Claim in NYC?
New York State Law dictates if someone is injured while legally on another person’s property, the owner is liable for any injuries that occur on the property if they were negligent in maintaining property which led to the injury. In other words, they’ve neglected their Duty of Care.
If liability can be proved, you may be entitled to compensation to help you to help recover lost wages, pay for your emergency room visit or any subsequent medical bills you may receive after getting treatment. Your personal injury lawyer will take a look at the circumstances surrounding the incident and determine if you have a slip and fall case. If so, your lawyer will file a claim based on premises liability. New York State requires the following elements to qualify as a premises liability claim.
- You must have been lawfully on the property, either by invitation or hired to work.
- The property owner or contractor was negligent in correcting an unsafe condition on the property, either by ignoring it, not properly posting warnings, roping off, or fixing it haphazardly.
- The owner’s or company’s negligence caused your injury.
- Trespassers without the owner’s knowledge generally don’t have a premises liability case.
New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules, Section 241 specifies the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit in New York State is three years. The three-year limit commences on the day the accident and injury occurred. Before you file a claim, you’ll want to talk to an NYC slip and fall lawyer to determine if there are any exceptions to the statute of limitations that apply to your case.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
After an accident occurs, it’s important to immediately seek medical attention. Be sure to see a healthcare professional even if you feel fine or show no apparent injuries.
This is important for two primary reasons.
- You may have an injury that is not visible to the naked eye. For instance, many concussions or traumatic brain injuries are not immediately apparent, and symptoms can emerge long after the accident. You could be seriously injured in this or other ways and not know it—a healthcare professional will know what to look for as they assess your well-being.
- Any documentation of an accident from a medical professional (and the resulting injury) strengthens your premises liability case.
After you’ve received medical care, it’s important to take the following steps in the aftermath of a slip and fall injury is to:
- Report the incident to the contractor, employer, property owner, landlord, or manager.
- Avoid confrontations with the property owner.
- Have someone take photos of the hazardous conditions that led to the accident.
- Gather contact information from any witnesses to the incident.
- Limit who you talk to about the accident, your symptoms, or anything else that could potentially be used against you.
- Keep any clothing or footwear you had on at the time of the accident because this may prove to be valuable evidence later on.
- After you’ve filed your report, let conversations take place through your personal injury attorney.
- Avoid any potential compromising activity. Any physical activity could be scrutinized and be perceived you don’t have a serious injury. Be careful what you do, even if you’re having a good day.
“It’s important to remember at all times, the defendant’s attorneys will be looking for any excuse to get your premises liability case dismissed. Even if you don’t show any behaviors that could compromise your case, opposing attorneys will be looking to argue you had blame in your accident, even if it’s only a shared percentage. This is known as comparative negligence.”Brian O’Dwyer – Construction Accident Lawyer – O’Dwyer & Bernstien
If they succeed in their counterclaim and prove comparative negligence, you could see any potential monetary personal injury award significantly diminished. New York State Law requires 100% of an accident to be assigned blame. For instance, a court could find the defendant 80% to blame and you 20% of the blame Or, they could find the defendant 100% at fault if you have a strong case. This is why it’s important to have an NYC slip and fall lawyer on your side.
Who Will Pay For My Losses?
You are entitled to benefits from workers’ compensation whenever you suffer any work-related injury. However, workers’ compensation benefits do not provide full wage replacement. It doesn’t pay anything for the pain and suffering you go through following an accident.
If unsafe conditions caused your trip-and-fall accident at the job site, you might have the right to obtain full compensation by filing a
personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. Examples of unsafe conditions that can lead to a trip-and-fall injury include poor lighting, poorly constructed walkways, and construction debris in areas where workers walk.
Thousands of construction workers are injured each year when they fall due to unsafe job sites. In many cases, the worker is carrying objects or materials that make it impossible to see tripping hazards. Your employer, the property owners, or another contractor working at the site may be liable for the hazardous condition.
The following are examples of trip-and-fall accident cases our firm has handled:
- $1,300,000 for a dock builder who injured his shoulder, knee, and ankle requiring surgery when he tripped on a defective wooden pallet.
- $610,256 for a laborer who stepped into an unguarded hole in the ground at a construction site and suffered back and knee injuries.
- $600,000 for a 48-year-old carpenter who was injured when he tripped and fell on debris at a job site.
Did You Slip And Fall In New York?
To obtain full compensation for your losses after a serious trip-and-fall accident in the New York City area, call 212-571-7100 for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our lawyers will take immediate steps to collect and preserve evidence of the unsafe conditions that led to your injury.