Premises liability is the legal term for injuries occurring on another person’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. Some common types of premises liability accidents include:
- Dog bites or attacks
- Slip and falls
- Exposure to toxic or hazardous substances
- Drowning, near drownings, or water hazards
- Negligent security
There are many elements of a premises liability case that must be present before you can file a claim for damages. For help gathering evidence, establishing these elements, and filing a claim or lawsuit, call a New York premises liability lawyer from Buttafuoco & Associates: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
What do I need to establish for a premises liability case?
The first thing that you must determine is whether or not you were legally on the property.
If you were trespassing, it is very difficult to file a claim for damages against the owner unless there were no obvious signs or barriers to keep you off the property.
If you were injured on public or open property such as in a city park or at a shopping mall, these areas are intended for visitors and therefore would likely qualify for a premises liability case.
The Accident Cause
The basis of a premises liability case falls upon the type of hazard that caused the accident.
To have a valid claim, the hazard must have been obvious to the party responsible for the property upkeep, and it must have been present for a long enough time that it was reasonable for the liable party to have repaired or barricaded the hazard.
For example, if the handrail in a stairwell is noticeably loose, the property owner or manager needs to take the necessary steps to fix it. However, if the handrail broke the day of the accident, the property owner likely did not have enough time to fix it and may have not even known about it.
If the party responsible for the property fails in its duty to identify and address hazardous conditions, it can be liable for breaching its duty of care to visitors.
Identifying liable parties and the hazardous conditions that led to your injury requires substantial evidence and investigation of the incident.
Next, you must determine how the accident occurred and who was liable. Some potentially liable parties include:
- Property owner
- Property manager
- Maintenance crew
Who is liable in your case depends on the type of accident. If you suffered injury in a slip and fall at a grocery store, you would need to determine who was responsible for maintaining the inside of the grocery store. Was the store manager or the property owner responsible?
Liability in premises liability cases can be complex. A New York premises liability attorney will be able to tell you all potential liable parties in your case,
Evidence to Collect in a Premises Liability Case
- Photographs of the area are useful types of evidence that show the hazard and the aftermath of the accident.
- Surveillance video is especially helpful, as it can show how long a hazard went unattended before your accident. Surveillance video can be difficult to obtain without the help of a lawyer.
- Witness statements are also helpful, as they give the viewpoint of an unbiased third party who witnessed the accident.
- Depending on the type of property where your accident occurred, the owners might have written an incident report to document the accident (common if the accident occurred in a store or restaurant).
- Finally, your medical records will show the extent of your injuries and damages.
Once you have established who is liable and how the accident occurred, you must establish the damages you suffered.
Seeking Damages from a Premises Liability Accident
There are several kinds of injuries you may suffer from the different types of premises liability claims. Slip and falls commonly result in broken bones, head trauma, and fractures, while dog bites can result in infections and disfigurement. There is also a potential for emotional distress, such as a fear of dogs following an attack.
Aside from your medical bills that arise from the accident, you should also be entitled to damages for:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
A vocational expert may be necessary to testify on your behalf regarding your work limitations due to your injuries.
Likewise, a medical expert might be necessary to establish the permanency of your injuries and the damages it may cause.
To establish pain and suffering, keeping a pain diary is an excellent way to show how your injuries affect your daily life and mental state.
Collecting evidence, identifying liable parties, and negotiating a settlement for damages can be difficult to complete on your own.
The New York premises liability attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates can take these tasks on in your stead and let you focus on recovery. Contact us at 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free consultation.