The average New Yorker takes approximately 8,000 steps per day. Unfortunately, it only takes one step to seriously alter or even end a person’s life. Property owners have a legal obligation to provide a "reasonably safe" environment for anyone who lawfully enters their property or premises. Legally, this obligation is referred to as a "duty of care." Failure to keep the property reasonably safe is considered a "breach" of the owner’s duty of care, which makes them liable for any injuries that result from the unsafe conditions on their property.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a trip, slip, and fall accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for certain damages. To get the settlement you and your family deserve, you will need the representation of an experienced NY personal injury attorney. The legal team Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, has been successfully representing injury victims for over 50 years. Let us put our wealth of knowledge and experience to work on your claim by calling (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation.
In order to qualify for a premises liability case, your trip, slip, and fall must meet these minimum standards:
- You were on the property legally, such as being invited by the owner or working there and were not trespassing.
- The owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property.
- The owner did not fix the hazard or provide an adequate warning prior to your accident.
- Your injuries came directly from the slip-and-fall accident.
To prove that these facts are true, you will need to collect evidence, such as photos of the hazardous condition, medical evaluations of your injuries, and eyewitnesses to your accident and the events that led up to it. A skilled attorney can help you gather what you need and craft it into a successful case.
Slip-and-fall accidents occur when a pedestrian loses his footing while walking: whether because he suddenly loses traction with the ground due to a slippery surface, loses his balance due to uneven ground, or trips over an unexpected hazard. Some hazards include:
- Spilled liquid, such as water or liquid soap
- Icy sidewalks that are not properly salted or marked by warning signs
- Mud and water that is left on hard floors after being tracked in by pedestrians
- Floors made of a material that is far too slippery for the property, such as tile
- Broken or cracked ground
- Poorly maintained subway platforms
- Broken handrails on stairs that give out under a person's weight
- Broken stairs that collapse or trip visitors
All of these dangers come about from someone else’s negligence. Property owners who do not clean up spills, fix broken ground or railings, or warn visitors of trip/slip hazards are responsible for accidents that result. Additionally, cleaning crews that fail to respond in time, do a sloppy job, or create new slip-and-fall hazards can be responsible for a fall, along with as the property owner who hired them.
These accidents are so common they can happen anywhere, but certain locations may be more dangerous than others. These include places like:
- Homes: Slip-and-fall accidents in the home can be very serious, especially if a person is alone. These accidents are particularly dangerous for the elderly. Accidents caused by unsafe conditions in or around the house may be the fault of the homeowner.
- Workplace: The property owner or business owner might be held liable for a slip-and-fall injury, depending on the details of how it happened and what unsafe conditions existed.
- Construction sites: Construction sites are the most dangerous workplaces in the country, especially for fall accidents. Injuries can happen in many different ways but negligence and poor decision-making are often involved, leaving supervisors and companies liable for such accidents.
- Sidewalks: Sidewalks that are poorly maintained or cluttered with debris lead to more accidents. Snow and ice can be very dangerous, and property owners are expected to keep their sidewalks reasonably safe or they may be liable for injuries on them.
- Government buildings: While the government is typically immune from civil claims, there are exceptions. Should a slip-and-fall accident occur on government property due to negligence on the part of that agency, a lawsuit may be viable.
In the past, New York City was largely responsible for sidewalk slip and fall accidents. Nowadays, however, New York City balances liability between themselves and the businesses that own and maintain the property. The City will be held liable for the accident under these three conditions:
- A person lives at the residence where the accident happened
- The City has prior written notice of sidewalk damage in that area
- A large part of the sidewalk borders a family residence
Slip and fall accidents outside of NYC liability are governed by the New York City Administrative Code Section 7-210. This regulation requires business owners to exercise a “reasonable” level of responsibility, care, and upkeep in the maintenance of the sidewalks around their properties in order to protect others.
Business owners can be held liable for a slip and fall injury if they are proven to know about a dangerous condition on their sidewalk and neglected to fix the problem within a reasonable time limit. Liability insurance policies protect businesses after slip and fall accidents and typically cover these expenses.
When a slip and fall occurs on a private or residential sidewalk, the accident is treated as a premises liability case. In New York City, property owners are required to take the steps necessary in keeping their property in safe condition. This could mean routine inspections, signage, and other warnings to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm.
Blizzards, snowstorms, and other harsh weather conditions can cause slushy build up on steps, entryways, and sidewalks, where slip and fall accidents often occur. In New York City, ice can form quickly which complicates liability in slip and fall accidents. Ultimately, however, property owners are required to keep their sidewalks in a “reasonably safe condition”, which does include the removal of ice and snow, but allows leeway for property owners. Some factors that may be considered when it comes to determining whether a property owner was negligent include:
- How long the ice or snow has accumulated
- The time of day
- If the snow is falling at the time
The exact injuries from a fall accident depend on the details of the accident. For example, someone who falls down a flight of stairs may have different injuries from a person who slips on an icy sidewalk. In general, some injuries are common in this sort of accident. These include:
- Minor bruises and scrapes: Minor trips and falls can result in minor injuries, including bruises, scrapes, and small cuts. These are usually painful but otherwise not a major issue. When the skin is broken, however, there is potential for infection if it is not cleaned and cared for properly after the fall.
- Lacerations: More serious lacerations can occur. Such cuts can result in blood loss and require medical attention to treat and mend, often requiring stitches, glue, or staples. The risk of infection from these injuries is high, so medical treatment is important.
- Sprained wrists or ankles: Falling can haphazardly put your body’s entire weight on your wrists or ankles, resulting in tears in your body’s ligaments. Not only are these injuries painful, but they also can have long-lasting effects. Severe strains require surgical treatment and physical therapy to fully recover from, and some victims can develop limps or mobility issues.
- Broken bones: Broken bones are quite painful. They require medical care from a professional to set properly in order to heal correctly. Painkillers may be needed when dealing with broken bones, and recovery times can be relatively long for getting over such an injury.
- Internal injuries: This includes damage to the heart, lungs, liver, or other organs, as well as muscle, ligament, and tendon damage. These injuries might not be immediately obvious to the person who has been injured. This makes them quite dangerous, since unforeseen complications can arise.
- Neck and shoulder injuries: Even minor neck injuries can cause chronic pain and impact a person's quality of life and ability to sleep. Serious injuries to the neck and shoulders can take a long time to recover from, and may even need surgery to fully heal.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord are among the most dangerous a person can sustain in a fall. Spinal cord injuries can result in chronic pain, difficulty moving, and even paralysis. These injuries have life-long implications, including complications that may prove fatal.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Brain injuries are about the most serious injuries possible. They are often fatal, especially if a person's head strikes the corner of a step or curb. Brain injuries can cause cognitive disorders and disabilities that may take years of treatment to either overcome or simply learn to live with.
If you fall, you should seek medical attention, and document your injuries carefully. If you have visible injuries, be sure to take photos right away for your records and keep a diary of your daily pain levels.
When you receive treatment from a medical provider, you have a trained specialist crafting an official record of your injuries and hardship. They keep records of their observations, take x-rays, or conduct other tests to demonstrate the severity of your injuries. All of this can provide evidence of your injuries that the responsible parties will have a difficult time refuting.
If you have suffered any injuries resulting from unsafe conditions of a property, you may be able to pursue compensation for any of the following damages:
- Current medical bills
- Future medical bills related to your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Household and vehicle modifications
- Permanent injury or disability
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish and emotional duress
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Hedonic damages for loss of joy of life
- Punitive damages
It is estimated that 15% of all accidental fatalities are caused by falls. If you have lost a loved one in such an accident, you and your family may be able to pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before death
- Loss of future income
- Loss of future benefits (such as medical benefits and retirement benefits)
- Loss of love, affection, companionship, guidance, marital consortium, etc.
- Loss of household duties performed by the deceased (including property and vehicle maintenance, childcare, chores, etc.)
For over half a century, the law offices of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, have been fighting for the rights of New York City injury victims, securing them substantial settlements.
Our NYC premises liability lawyers will take a personal interest in your case and secure you and your family the compensation you need and deserve. The attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, have secured many substantial settlements for slip, trip, and fall injuries, including multi-million-dollar payouts. Call us today for a free consultation by dialing (212) 986-7353.
WRSMH Trial Counsel Robert J. Bellinson, recently won a Verdict resulting in a $1,750,000.00 recovery for our client who slipped and fell on an ice patch .
Kenneth J. Halperin recently obtained a $1,500,000 settlement for a thirty-nine (39) year old man who was injured while visiting the defendants' premises.
WRSMH attorneys obtained a large settlement for a client who sustained injuries after a trip and fall caused by a defective raised cellar door on a sidewalk.
Clifford Shapiro, Eric Horn
Michael Fitzpatrick obtained a large verdict for a woman who sustained broken ribs and neck injuries in a trip in fall accident in front of a Brooklyn church.
Our client had to have elbow surgery as the result of a trip and fall accident at a gas station, which was caused by a defective metal plate installed at the foot of a gas station fuel pump.
WRSMH obtained a settlement of $900,000.00 on behalf of a client who sat in a chair which collapsed causing him to strike his head on the floor.
A Brooklyn resident tripped and fell on uneven concrete at a gas station.
The firm represented a client who was injured when he tripped and fell in a medical facility.
Our client sustained a herniated disc in his spine requiring surgery, as the result of a trip and fall in a parking lot.
Trial Counsel Robert J. Bellinson recently obtained a $775,000.00 settlement for our client who slipped and fell on liquid laundry detergent in a supermarket.
Our client, a home health aide in her early 60s, contended that as she was walking in the defendant's fish and vegetable market she slipped and fell on a piece of wet cabbage.
Victor Goldblum obtained a settlement for our client, a 63 year old woman who slipped and fell as a result of stepping on a shoe box in a department store.
Our client was injured when she tripped and fell on uneven carpet in an office building, resulting in shoulder injuries.
Plaintiff tripped and fell in a bank in Brooklyn. She ultimately required back surgery for herniated discs and continued to have pain following the accident.
Our client suffered back injuries when he slipped and fell on wet stairs in his apartment building.
Eric Horn recovered compensation for a client who sustained injuries while walking along a sidewalk.
WRSMH was able and to obtain a settlement of $500,000.00 on behalf of a fifty year old worker from the Bronx.
Plaintiff, a long time manager at a well known home goods chain, was injured when she tripped on an old, curled up mat, which was being used by an independent company that was providing security within the store.
Plaintiff, a 62-year-old retired clerk, tripped and fell on a raised sidewalk next to a commercial premises.
Bill Hepner obtained a $400,000 recovery at a mediation for a woman who slipped on mayonnaise in a Manhattan Supermarket.