Injured on Another’s Property: Premises Liability Basics

If you’re injured while on another person’s property, and your injures are caused by the landowner’s negligence, you may be able to sue for your injuries.  Property owners are legally responsible for the safety of their property, ensuring that it is free from hazardous defects and unsafe conditions. Property owners include private/residential properties, public properties, and governmental properties (e.g.: towns, city, state property).

Common types of unsafe conditions include slippery floors, cracked or uneven floors and sidewalks, lack of handrails, lack of proper lighting, exposed electrical wires or cords, obstructed emergency exits, negligent security, and housing dangerous animals, etc. These defects may lead to slip and falls, attractive nuisance injuries (e.g.: children in swimming pools), injuries caused by criminal activity (e.g.: a bar fight), and injuries caused by animals.

In New York, in order to have a viable claim for premises liability that caused personal injury, the landowner must have had notice of the dangerous condition. Notice means that the landowner either knew of the dangerous condition or should have known of the dangerous condition. Your lawyer will assist in discovering if there was notice in your situation. This may be shown by whether the landowner created the condition or proof the condition existed for an extended period of time. Every case is different and will depend on whose property you are on, why you’re there, how you are injured, and if the landowner created or knew about the unsafe conditions.

Once the landowner’s negligence is established, any potential defenses will be evaluated. For example, if the unsafe defect were open and obvious, you may be unsuccessful in a lawsuit if you should have seen the defect and avoided it.  Similarly, the landowner may allege that you assumed the risk, such as traveling to the mall in a blizzard. In a situation where you are on another’s property unlawfully, such as trespassing, you may be barred from recovering in a lawsuit.

If you are injured on another’s property, notify the owner immediately or as soon as you are able. Seek medical treatment immediately following the incident.  Further, make it clear where and why you were injured so that it is documented in your medical records. As always, consult your attorney as soon as possible, as certain premises liability cases have critically short deadlines.

For a free 30 minute case evaluation of your case, schedule an appointment with the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C., (631) 343-7676.