Premises liability is a concept that may hold a property owner responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of the owner's negligence while you are on the property. This covers situations such as slipping and falling on a wet floor, being cut by jagged metal or broken glass, a violent attack, and other injury-causing conditions. Not all injuries are caused by negligence, but many are. If you are injured while on someone else's property you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
A property owner (or occupier in some cases) typically owes a duty of care to people who visit the property. The extent of the duty owed depends on the status of the visitor. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care. An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property with the intention of financial gain by the property owner. Diners at a restaurant, a guest at a hotel, or a shopper at a supermarket are all invitees because the property owner stands to gain financially from the visit. Licensees are owed almost as much care as an invitee. A licensee is someone who has permission to be on the property but is not on the property with the hope of financial gain on the part of the property owner. A plumber who is on your property to fix your sink is an invitee. Finally, a trespasser is owed the least duty of care because he or she does not even have permission to be on the property.
The duty of care is very fact specific; however, the general idea is that a property owner has a legal obligation to do everything reasonably possible to prevent harm from occurring to those who are on the property. If the stairs in a restaurant are in need of repair, for example, and the owner fails to repair them causing you to be injured, the property owner could be held responsible under the theory of premises liability. The idea behind this is that the injury would not have happened if the owner had fixed or remedied the conditions before you got there.
None of this is set in stone, however. If you file suit, the court must look at reasonable maintenance and inspection issues, your role in the conditions, and the potential for the injury to happen in any situation. A store owner who places "wet floor" signs near spills might not be liable if you walk past the signs and slip on the liquid that was spilled, for example, because he or she did attempt to warn people of the conditions. If the signs were placed behind boxes, though, so that you couldn't see them, then that situation might turn out differently in court.
If you have been injured while on someone's property in Queens or anywhere in New York, contact the Queens premises liability attorneys at SIMON & GILMAN, LLP right away to discuss your options.