Syracuse Slip and Fall Lawyers Representing Victims of Fall-Related Injuries
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property due to a defective condition or other hazards, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. By law, a property owner can be held liable for dangerous conditions that may cause other people to sustain fall injuries. Such laws fall under the category of premises liability.
Slip and fall cases can result from any number of issues, including slick surfaces, possibly due to icy or snowy conditions. Syracuse, NY, is no stranger to heavy snowfall, which can lead to wet and slippery parking lots, sidewalks, doorsteps, foyers, and entryways.
Property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their property to ensure that their premises are free of the dangerous effects of snow and ice. They must take every reasonable measure that they can to safeguard their property against slip and fall accidents, whatever the cause.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries from a slip and fall accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your legal rights and options.
Contact the law offices of Passalacqua & Associates, LLC at (315) 500-6425 and ask to speak with one of our experienced attorneys who can review your case and help to determine the best strategy going forward.
Does An Owner Have an Obligation to Keep Their Property Safe in New York?
Under state law, property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that all those who come onto their property are kept safe from potential hazards. There are certain criteria that have to be met when determining if the property owner was negligent in keeping their premises safe from injury. Some of them are as follows:
- The property owner was aware or should have been aware of the potential hazard: For example, if a store owner knows that the sidewalk is icy, they have a duty to take steps to make certain that their premises are free of slip and fall hazards related to the ice. They must take reasonable care to prevent visitors from slipping, tripping, or falling due to unsafe conditions.
- The length of time that the hazard has been present: Property owners should be routinely checking their premises to verify that obstacles and other potential hazards do not exist that could cause injury. For instance, if it can be proven that there was no handrail on the stairs for a month and a fall occurred, this could be a key factor in being able to file for injuries.
- Preventative Measures: A property owner must also ensure that conditions are not dangerous by taking preventative measures. One example of this would be making sure that a wet floor sign is appropriately displayed when water is present or a spill has occurred.
Who Can Legally Sue a Property Owner for a Slip and Fall Accident?
In premises liability cases, there are very strict rules as to who can actually sue for a slip and fall accident. It would seem to be common sense that anyone who is injured on someone else’s property would have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, New York state law clearly defines who may actually file a claim for fall-related injuries. The law states the following in regard to being legally allowed to file a claim:
The victim of the injury was legally permitted to be on the property: In order for a slip and fall claim to be valid, the victim must have been on the property in one of the following capacities:
- Invitee: This is an individual who has been expressly invited onto the property by the owner or landlord for the owner’s benefit. This can include business patrons, residents of apartment buildings, or maintenance workers.
- Licensee: A licensee is an individual who is on the owner’s property for their own purposes. The individual could be a family member or a friend.
Even though the licensee may have a personal relationship with the owner, in legal terms, there is no direct benefit to the owner. In simple terms, this means that the property owner is obligated to warn the licensee or other invited visitors of the presence of any dangerous or other potentially hazardous conditions that may exist on the property.
As stated previously, there are certain individuals who are not permitted to file an injury claim for a slip and fall accident, such as the following:
- Trespasser: A trespasser is an individual who has entered another person’s property without their permission. In cases where a trespasser is injured, the owner is not responsible for safety. Therefore, a trespasser cannot file a claim against a property owner for a slip and fall accident. It should be strongly cautioned that although the trespasser is not legally on the owner’s property, the owner should not do anything to intentionally cause them harm.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover From a Slip and Fall Accident?
The types of damages that can be awarded in a premises liability case can be both economic and non-economic in nature.
Economic damages: These types of damages are measured in financial terms. Some commonly awarded economic damages that are awarded in premises liability cases include the following:
- Lost Wages: When an individual is injured in a slip and fall case, they are often unable to work for an extended period of time. This can also include loss of future earning capacity as well.
- Medical Costs: One of the most important aspects of economic damages is to recover monetary compensation for medical bills such as hospital expenses, doctor visits, and any other medical costs.
Non-economic damages: These types of damages are often determined in terms of pain and suffering. This can include mental trauma that you may experience due to the accident as well as:
- Loss of enjoyment of life: You are no longer enjoying activities that you were previously able to enjoy prior to experiencing your accident.
- Loss of companionship: You have suffered any changes to your relationship due to your injuries.
Why Should I Hire a Premises Liability to Help Me File a Slip and Fall Claim?
When it comes to any legal matter that involves a potential lawsuit, you need to have strong legal representation. Often an insurance company will try to deny claims, and it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
It should be noted that there is a three-year statute of limitations on most premise liability cases. Therefore, it is vital that you do not delay in filing a claim. If you were to miss the deadline to file a claim, your case would be dismissed and thrown out.
You need a personal injury attorney who will not be afraid to fight aggressively for you. If you have experienced a fall in a parking lot, a sidewalk, on stairs, or in another public place, contact the law offices of Passalacqua & Associates, LLC by calling (315) 500-6425 and schedule a free strategy session so that we may review the facts of your case and determine how we can best serve you.
WHAT IF I AM INJURED IN A SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT AT SOMEONE’S HOME?
Current statistics show us that slip & fall injuries are one of the leading causes for you to go to a hospital emergency room. Also, many of these accidents occur on someone’s private property or in their home. When it happens, It’s mandatory that you understand all your legal rights for compensation for your medical care, and if you do have to file a lawsuit.
Slip & fall injuries are sometimes minor, but most of these incidents cause broken bones, disabling back injuries, and even TBIs (traumatic brain injuries).
The medical bills for initial care and recovery can skyrocket into thousands of dollars, and you may even need treatment for the rest of your life. So, even if you are at someone’s home, if negligence of any type contributed to or caused your accident, you are rightfully and legally entitled to file a lawsuit for compensation for the costs you incur.
In many of these accidents, the property owner is the liable party. However, whether you can prove the property owner’s responsible for your injuries depends on whether they behaved negligently.
All property owners in New York state are legally responsible for protecting visitors in their homes or on their property.
If they are aware or should have been aware of a hazard on their property, the owners must take action to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Until any issue is resolved, they must warn you about the hazard or take other necessary measures to prevent you from injury.
If the homeowner fails to correct the hazard (or warn you), they have behaved negligently and will usually be liable for your injuries and can be sued for the costs and damages you have sustained.
However, these cases can be legally challenging to prove. To fully determine if you can sue the homeowner, you must thoroughly discuss your case with an experienced, qualified Utica or Syracuse personal injury lawyer.
You must realize that your case is unique, and your lawyer will know the right questions to ask. Their legal advice and guidance will be invaluable to you in obtaining the compensation you need to recover and rightfully deserve.
HOW MAY MY LAWYER PROVE THE HOMEOWNER’S NEGLIGENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY?
If you sustained an injury at someone’s home, determining their negligence and responsibility for your injury will depend on numerous factors. As stated, negligence and liability usually depend on whether the homeowner is aware of the existing hazard.
If the homeowner is aware of the hazard, such as rotten wood, loose handrails, broken or uneven steps, etc., they are legally responsible for fixing the threat or warning you about the danger.
Commonly, your personal injury law team will prove that the homeowner was responsible for your injuries, and that “proof” will depend on the following facts.
- The homeowner caused the defect or otherwise dangerous condition on their property.
- The homeowner was aware of the hazardous condition and did nothing to correct it.
- Also, the homeowner should have known of the dangerous condition (as any reasonable person taking care of their property would) and should have taken steps to repair, modify, replace, or otherwise remedy the hazard.
Consulting and obtaining the professional, experienced advice of your local Utica or Syracuse personal injury law team will be invaluable at this stage of your case. They will analyze all aspects of your accident and determine the correct legal filings and actions needed.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE RIGHT AFTER MY ACCIDENT?
Having an accident on someone’s property (or anywhere) isn’t something you can ever plan for. However, When it does happen, you may be scared, confused, in pain, or worse. The first thing to do is get the immediate medical attention you require.
If you cannot take steps immediately yourself, enlisting help in proving what occurred immediately before and after your accident is critical to your case if you must file a lawsuit.
The following are just a few things to do to obtain the needed compensation for you to recover and thrive.
- Identify exactly what happened and caused your accident – Write down your thoughts (or, if needed, have someone document them) as soon as possible and attempt to do this at the scene. Accurate and firsthand information is invaluable and can aid the medical team in treating you and providing valuable information to your lawyer.
- Take photos, and obtain the contact information of witnesses – The witness accounts can help you prove what occurred and exactly why you were injured.
- If outside, note the weather and lighting conditions – These conditions may have contributed to your accident and need to be documented.
- Note dangerous circumstances at the scene – Take photos of the area, and document all you can.
- Where any warning signs present – This is highly significant as to whether the hazards were marked or not.
WHAT IF I AM PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACCIDENT?
This is a common question in these cases and very pertinent for receiving compensation for your bills and recovery.
New York state is a “comparative negligence state.” So, if you are partially to blame for your accident, your compensation may be reduced by your determined percentage of fault.
Almost always, the homeowner (and their insurance company) will attempt to place some of the blame on you. There are many examples, such as walking in an area where visitors usually wouldn’t go. They might say you were not paying attention, or you weren’t wearing appropriate shoes, and much more.
This is one of the most critical areas your Utica personal injury lawyer will address. Consult with them first; never admit fault or even speak to any insurance companies before you do.
I’VE BEEN INJURED AT ANOTHER PERSON’S HOME; HOW SHOULD I PROCEED?
You should always be aware that even a relatively straightforward (and seemingly minor) slip & fall accident could have severe long-term effects on your life. Many injuries (especially head trauma) don’t exhibit symptoms until weeks or months afterward.
If you’ve suffered any injuries, you must receive accurate, professional legal insight, which will be vital in determining your next legal move. Consulting with an experienced, empathetic, and professional Utica or Syracuse personal injury law team will help to ensure that you get on the right path to secure your future health and finances. Consult with them immediately and obtain the legal representation you need and rightfully deserve.