Best Slip And Fall Lawyers NYC Of 2024 – Forbes

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The following sections of this slip and fall guide provide important information that are useful if you are involved in such an incident and need to file a lawsuit to recover your damages.

NY Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents

The statute of limitation is a time limit imposed by law beyond which a person cannot be held liable or punished for an offense. In New York, the typical timeframe to file a lawsuit for personal injuries or property damages resulting from a slip and fall incident is three years from when the incident happened.

In cases where the slip and fall victim died from their injuries, the personal representative of their estate has two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors.

The time limit may differ slightly if the victim is a minor, mentally impaired, if the defendant has left the state or if the defendant is a government agency.

Filing your claim early safeguards your right to pursue a lawsuit against the responsible parties and preserves crucial evidence. It also strengthens your position during negotiations with insurance companies, who know you have time to file a lawsuit if a fair settlement isn’t reached. Once the statute of limitations expires, you lose this leverage.

We strongly advise consulting with an NYC slip and fall lawyer if you have any questions regarding how the deadline applies to your case.

New York Laws for Slip and Fall Incidents

There are specific elements of New York law you should be aware of if you have a potential slip and fall case.

Premises Liability

Slip and fall accidents fall under premises liability. This legal framework holds those in control of a property responsible for ensuring its safety for all individuals present.

Previously, New York classified visitors into invitees, licensees and trespassers. The property owner’s duty of care varied based on the visitor’s status, with the highest duty owed to invitees and minimal duty owed to trespassers.

However, New York has abandoned this system. Now, property owners must maintain safe premises for all reasonably foreseeable attendees, regardless of their visitor status.

Actual Knowledge or Constructive Notice

For your lawsuit to be successful, you need to demonstrate that the property owner either had actual knowledge or should have reasonably known about the hazardous condition.

  • Actual knowledge means that the owner had direct awareness of the condition, such as being personally informed about a broken stair or witnessing it themselves. This can be proven through maintenance records or prior complaint reports from guests. By demonstrating actual knowledge, you show that the owner had explicit information about the hazardous condition, leaving them accountable for any resulting harm or damages.
  • Constructive notice means the owner should have known about the hazardous condition based on certain circumstances. For instance, if there are clear signs of an issue that persisted for a long period of time, it is reasonable to expect the owner to have had enough opportunity to identify and address the problem. As an example, let’s consider an oil puddle on the sidewalk that remains unattended for several weeks despite being visible and posing a risk to pedestrians. In this case, it is reasonable to expect that the owner had ample time to notice the spill and clean it up or place warning signs.

Sidewalk Maintenance

In New York City, real property owners are legally responsible for maintaining and repairing the sidewalk adjacent to their property. This means that if a slip and fall accident occurs on their sidewalk due to snow, cracked pavement or another condition, the property owner holds liability for any resulting damages.

However, if the incident happens on a sidewalk next to a one-, two- or three-family residential property that serves no commercial purpose, you may have the option to sue the city of New York for losses. If this situation applies to you, your lawyer can determine the location of the slip and fall and inform you whether the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance lies with the property owner or NYC.

Storm-in-Progress Doctrine

According to the storm-in-progress doctrine, property owners in New York are not required to keep their sidewalks clear and safe during ongoing snowstorms or rainstorms. This is because attempting to clear snow or rain during the storm may be ineffective due to continuous accumulation. However, owners are obligated to clear their sidewalks within a specific time frame after the storm ends.

In NYC, property owners have a four-hour window after the snowfall stops to clear their sidewalks between 7 am and 5 pm, 14 hours between 5 pm and 9 pm and if the snowfall stops between 9 pm and 7 am, the sidewalk must be clear by 11 am. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries. If inclement weather caused your slip and fall, an attorney can help determine if the property owner can be held accountable based on the timing of the storm and your specific accident.

Notice of Claim Requirement

If your slip and fall accident involves the negligence of a government agency or municipality in New York, there are specific procedural requirements to follow. You must submit a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the incident, informing the relevant public entity of your intention to sue and giving them an opportunity to investigate the facts of your claim. You must wait 30 days to initiate a lawsuit, after which you have one year and 90 days to take legal action.

If the negligence lies with NYC, there are stricter rules in place for holding the city liable. The rule dictates the city cannot be liable for injuries from any dangerous condition on public property unless:

  • The city received a written notice about the defective or dangerous condition within 15 days before the incident, or
  • The city provided a written acknowledgment of the hazardous condition 15 days prior to the accident

Consult with an attorney promptly to understand your legal options and meet any time-sensitive deadlines if you suspect a public entity’s negligence caused your slip and fall incident.

Identifying Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident

In New York, slip and fall cases adhere to the comparative negligence principle, in which fault can be shared between multiple parties involved in the accident, including the victim. If the injured person is found partially responsible for their injuries, their compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.

For example, let’s say a person slips and falls in a grocery store due to a wet floor. During the investigation, it is determined that the person was looking at their phone and not paying attention to the warning signs. The court assigns 30% of the fault to the injured person for their lack of attentiveness and 70% of the fault to the grocery store for not adequately maintaining the premises.

If the person’s damages are calculated at $20,000, their compensation will be reduced by 30% (the percentage of fault assigned to them). As a result, they would receive $14,000 as their final compensation.

Whether you’re seeking compensation through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, the insurer or the defendant will try to minimize their liability and expand yours. They may argue that:

  • The hazard was obvious but you were distracted by something and not paying attention.
  • The defendant was not aware of the hazard or the dangerous situation happened too quickly and there wasn’t enough time to fix the situation.
  • You were wearing improper or unsafe shoes or clothing that increased your risk for a slip and fall accident.
  • There were warning signs or safety guards to protect the visitors from the dangerous condition.

It’s important to build a strong case with sufficient evidence and compelling arguments to attain a fair compensation that covers all your damages.

How Can a NYC Slip and Fall Attorney Help You?

A slip and fall attorney can help you with:

  • Investigating the cause of the slip and fall incident and determining who holds liability for your injuries.
  • Evaluating the facts underlying your case to assess whether you have valid grounds to sue.
  • Assigning a value to all the compensable economic and non-economic damages you have sustained.
  • Seeking compensation through claim or lawsuit from all culpable parties whose negligence contributed to you suffering a slip and fall.
  • Pressing the insurer or property owner for a full and fair compensation and standing up to their attempts at devaluing your claim or minimizing their liability.
  • Gathering a wide range of evidence, including witness statements to develop a persuasive case.
  • Representing your case in court before a judge and jury, if necessary.

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