By: Passalacqua & Associates

Why You Should Hire a Slip-and-Fall Attorney Before Going to Trial

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Can You Recover Compensation for a Slip-and-Fall Injury?

If you’re in the Syracuse or Utica area, and you’re injured in a slip-and-fall or a trip-and-fall accident because of a property owner’s negligence, schedule a consultation immediately to review your legal rights and options with a Syracuse slip-and-fall attorney.

If you suffer an injury in a slip-and-fall accident on another person’s property, what’s your legal recourse? What steps should you take? When should you reach out to a Syracuse premises liability lawyer for the legal advice and representation you may need?

If you’ll keep reading this short discussion of slip-and-fall accidents, premises liability law, and your rights in New York as the injured victim of another person’s negligence, you’ll find the answers that, now or in the future, you or someone you love may need.

What is Required of Property Owners in New York?

Serious slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injuries may be sustained in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  1.  on a sidewalk, tripping on cracked or uneven pavement
  2.  in a parking area, tripping on a pothole
  3.  at a restaurant or supermarket, slipping on a damp floor

Under the law in New York, businesses, homeowners, and landlords must maintain their properties to keep the premises “reasonably” free of potential dangers to visitors, tenants, employees, customers, and passers-by.

How Are Slip-and-Fall Injuries Likely to Happen?

Businesses must repair potholes in their parking lots and uneven pavement on their sidewalks. A supermarket’s employees are obligated to keep the market’s floors dry and the aisles reasonably uncluttered.

Slip-and-fall injuries on business properties can also happen because of:

  1.   parking lots and staircases with poor lighting
  2.  old staircases, particularly wooden staircases
  3.  oil or ice on pavement or sidewalks
  4.  curled-up floor mats, carpets, or rugs
  5.  cluttered walkways, hallways, and aisles

Is Compensation Available After a Slip-and-Fall Injury?

New York law entitles injured victims of negligence to compensation for injury-related pending and projected future medical costs, lost wages and projected future lost wages, personal pain, suffering, and related losses if you are injured in a slip-and-fall incident:

  1.  on another party’s property
  2.  because of the property owner’s negligence
  3.  and your Syracuse & Utica slip-and-fall attorney can prove #1 and #2

If you’re injured in any slip-and-fall incident, after you’ve been examined and treated, have a premises liability lawyer discuss your legal rights and explain your legal options. Call that attorney at once after a medical provider has examined and treated you.

Slip-and-Fall Claims Must Be “Reasonable”

“Reasonable” is a word you will hear whenever premises liability cases are discussed. No property owner can prevent every conceivable accident that might happen on his or her premises. The law tries to balance the rights and interests of injury victims and property owners.

For instance, if someone is injured slipping-and-falling on someone else’s private property because there was a hazardous condition on the premises, and the case goes to trial, a court will want to know:

  1.  Was the property owner aware of the hazardous condition?
  2.  Did the owner have sufficient time to arrange a clean-up or repair?
  3.  Was a warning sign posted?
  4.  Or were visitors informed in another way of the hazardous condition?

If milk has been spilled on the floor at a supermarket, and you suffer a slip-and-fall injury, is the store liable? If the milk has been there for ten minutes, the store is almost certainly liable, but if the milk has been there only twenty seconds, that isn’t a reasonable amount of time to have the floor mopped or even post a warning sign, and the store probably will not be deemed liable.

How Do Property Owners Defend Themselves?

If you pursue compensation after a slip-and-fall injury by filing a premises liability claim, the property owner may contest your claim with one or more of these defense arguments:

  1.   You were not paying attention to your surroundings.
  2.  You were trespassing or in an area marked off-limits for visitors.
  3.  Yellow cones and/or warning signs clearly marked the hazard.
  4.  “Reasonable” individuals would have seen and avoided the hazard.

How Are Slip-and Fall Claims Resolved?

Slip-and-fall claims are usually settled outside of the courtroom, but if liability is disputed or if no reasonable settlement amount is offered, your Utica & Syracuse premises liability lawyer will take the case to trial, tell a jury what happened, and ask that jury to order payment of your compensation.

You may be contacted by the property owner’s property insurance company. Make no statement to that company, don’t sign any insurance document, and don’t negotiate or entertain a settlement offer. Refer all of those inquiries to your slip-and-fall lawyer.

Anything you tell an insurance company could be twisted and used to discredit you, so let your attorney do the talking and negotiating. He or she will negotiate for a generous settlement, and if necessary, will advocate aggressively for you in the courtroom.

What Else Should You Know About Slip-and-Fall Injuries?

You have a three-year-deadline for bringing a premises liability claim after a slip-and-fall injury in the State of New York, but it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as you’ve been treated for your injury.

Evidence deteriorates over time, or disappears, and the memories of witnesses can fade fast. You’ll be in the best possible legal position if your attorney can examine the evidence while it’s fresh and speak to the witnesses while their memories are still recent.

Premises liability lawyers in New York represent their clients on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless your lawyer recovers your compensation with a negotiated settlement or trial verdict.

How Should You Choose a Slip-and-Fall Injury Attorney?

How can you find a lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and tenacity it will take to prevail on your behalf? There’s no need for an extended search. If you are in or near the Utica or Syracuse area, call Passalacqua & Associates.

The award-winning team at Passalacqua & Associates has more than thirty years of legal experience in the State of New York. We know what it will take to prevail with your slip-and-fall injury claim, and our record of success on behalf of our clients speaks for itself.

Learn more about your rights as a victim of negligence – or begin the legal process now – and call Passalacqua & Associates at 315-277-3548 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your case. At Passalacqua & Associates, we know how to make the law work for you.