Premises liability is one possible basis for a personal injury lawsuit. If someone is injured or killed because of an accident that occurred on the property of a third party, the third party property owner (or in some cases the occupier of the property) can potentially be held liable. Lawsuits based on premises liability can be based on a wide range of "accidents" or incidents; however, indoor and outdoor slips, trips and falls, as well as "attractive" nuisances, are a few of the more common types. This post will cover the nature of these types of premises liability accidents in Queens, New York.
Trips, falls, slips, tumbles, and collisions due to sliding or falling are extremely common events that lead to premises liability lawsuits. At issue is whether the accident could have been avoided through actions taken by either party. The property owner can be held liable if the duty of care was breached. Basically, that means that if the property owner knew about the danger, or reasonably should have known, and did nothing about it, liability might attach. For example, a customer who slips on a wet floor in a supermarket might be at fault if the area had been blocked off with signs stating the floor was wet. On the other hand, if a bottle of olive oil shatters and leaks all over the floor, and the market employees don't block off the area because they think everyone will see the oil and not walk on it, then the market could be liable for the customer's injuries.
Outdoor injuries can be tricky cases because there are more factors at play--there is more of a control issue regarding how the hazard formed. An unexpected cold front overnight that results in ice on the sidewalk of a business which leads to someone falling is not necessarily the fault of the business owner. On the other hand, if the ice had been there for several days and the property owner failed to do anything about it, the owner could be held liable for an injury caused by a patron slipping on the ice. Neglecting these issues could result in liability for the property owner or caretaker.
Finally, "attractive" issues are often involved in premises liability. One example would be young neighborhood children who sneak onto property to use a swimming pool. In these cases, assigning fault often relies on how much the property owner did to restrict entry to the pool and to make the pool area as safe as possible.
Because of the various factors involved in a potential premises liability lawsuit, it is best to speak to a New York personal injury lawyer as soon after the accident as possible to determine what legal options are available to you. If you would like an experienced attorney from Simon & Gilman, LLC to review your case, please contact us through the simple form to the right of this blog post or call us at (718) 459-6200.