Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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Stairs can become a safety hazard if they are not maintained properly. In fact, most stair related accidents would not happen if not for the carelessness of someone. If you have slipped and hurt yourself on stairs on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our hard-working Syracuse slip and fall attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

The National Safety Council reports that over 1 million injuries occur every year as the result of stairway falls. In fact, staircase and stairway accidents are the second leading cause of accidental injury, falling behind only motor vehicle accidents. Nearly 100,000 children under the age of 5 suffer stair-related injuries on an annual basis. Dangerous stairway conditions can be the result of common wear and tear, negligent maintenance or even poor maintenance. Common causes of staircase hazards that can lead to accidents causing injury include, but are not limited to:

  • Loose or missing handrail,
  • Unevenly spaced risers;
  • Chipped, worn, cracked, broken or missing steps;
  • Poorly lit stairwells;
  • Slick or slippery stairs;
  • Debris or clutter on stairs;
  • Loose or damaged treads, runners or carpeting.

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Children are curious by nature, and that can be a great asset when it comes to learning, but the same curiosity can put them in dangerous situations. If your child has been injured after wandering onto someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation for his or her injuries. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the nuances of New York premises liability law and can apply our knowledge to use in your case. Our firm is passionate about advocating for the rights of the injured, and we will do our best to make sure your rights are protected at every step of the way.

Generally, those who enter another party’s property without permission are called trespassers under the law and given little legal protection if they are injured. There is, however, an exception to this rule when it comes to children, and property owners have some responsibility to a trespasser when that trespasser is a child. The attractive nuisance doctrine protects children injured on another person’s property. Put another way, the attractive nuisance doctrine holds a landowner accountable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an artificial dangerous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risks and hazards associated with that object or condition. The idea is that property owners should be able to foresee that children may enter the property if certain “attractions” are present, including but not limited to:

  • Swimming pools;
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Winter in New York can be harsh. When a person slips and falls on ice, the injuries can be serious and long-lasting. In the most serious cases, the victim of the fall may require surgery. If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury after slipping and falling on ice on someone else’s property in Syracuse, you need to reach out to a skilled Syracuse premises liability attorney immediately. We can assess the circumstances of the fall and help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your harm.

A slip and fall accident occurs when a person is injured because a walking surface contains a dangerous condition (like ice) that causes a person to slip, trip, or fall. Many slip and falls on ice are results of a property owner’s negligence. In New York, both city and private property owners are required by law to clear ice and snow on the sidewalks abutting their property. Failing to clear snow from the sidewalk in front of the building or doing a poor job of clearing the snow or ice creates a hazard for anyone walking in the area. Property owners must clear snow and ice from the property in a “reasonable” amount of time to ensure walkways and high traffic areas are safe. According to the New York City Department of Sanitation, snow and ice must be removed no later than four hours after the end of the snowfall or no later than 11 a.m. if the snowfall ends after 9 p.m. the night before.

Slip and fall liability is generally rooted in the theory of negligence. Negligence takes place when an injury is a result of a property owner failing to use reasonable care. Reasonable care refers to the level of care that a prudent person would use in the same or similar circumstances. For instance, a property owner using reasonable care would make sure to clear a sidewalk properly so that there are no icy conditions that would lead to a fall. To establish negligence in a New York slip and fall case, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:

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Scaffolding, which is part of many construction jobs, comes with its own unique set of risk factors. While it has the potential to help prevent accidents and to assist in getting a job done, it also has the potential to cause falls and injuries. Construction accidents caused by scaffolding are preventable. Here are four tips for working with scaffolding on a construction job.

1. Remember your hardhat

The first tip for workers is to remember to wear a hardhat any time the scaffolding is being dismantled or erected. There are many plates, screws and other items that have the potential to fall, which could impact workers below the scaffolding’s platform. Wearing a hardhat prevents dangerous concussions and head injuries from these falling items.

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Are you employed as a commercial construction worker? Do you enjoy your job? Do you also realize that you could be injured at any point?

As a commercial construction worker, it’s a must that you do whatever you can to avoid trouble on the job. You should also expect your employer to take steps to prevent an accident.

There are many causes of commercial construction worker injuries, including but not limited to the following;

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Last time, we mentioned that the type of damages available in a premises liability case depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Damages, we noted, comes in several varieties, including those dealing with economic losses and non-economic losses, as well punitive damages.

Compensatory damages, sometimes called actual damages, relate to losses that are easily translated into monetary compensation. Such damages include things like lost wages, diminished earning capacity, medical expenses, and similar sorts of damages. Non-economic damages cover losses that are not easily monetized, such as pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are a category all their own. 

While compensatory damages have the aim of repaying the accident victim for his or her injuries and losses, punitive damages are aimed at punishing the defendant in a civil context. Punitive damages are not available in ordinary cases, but only in cases involving particularly egregious conduct. Ordinary negligence does not make an accident victim entitled to punitive damages, but only conduct involving a high degree of moral culpability. Such damages are not ordinarily going to be awarded in premises liability cases, though it is possible.

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In recent posts, we’ve been looking at the topic of premises liability and strategies property owners sometimes use to minimize their liability. From what we’ve said thus far, it should be fairly clear why it is important to work with experienced legal counsel in seeking compensation from a negligent property owner.

First of all, property owners cannot be expected to take responsibility for their negligence when an accident occurs on their property. This is especially true in cases where the injured party may have failed to take reasonable care in some way or can be said to have assumed the risk by participating in a sporting or recreational activity. Having an advocate is necessary to ensure a negligent property owner is not successful in refusing to take responsibility. 

Second, premises liability goes beyond slip and fall cases and encompasses situations involving violent crime and theft, food poisoning, and construction accidents. It is important to have guidance and advocacy in cases like these where premises liability may be a less obvious cause of action.

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This is our fourth post in a series dealing with the topic of premises liability. We’ve already looked briefly at premises liability claims in general, as well as the issues of comparative negligence and assumption of risk in the context of premises liability.

So called “slip and fall” cases are among the most common types of premises liability claims. Case law in New York has established several viable defenses for property owners faced with potential premises liability in slip and fall cases. First of all, a plaintiff must be able to prove the existence of a dangerous or defective condition on the property which led to his or her injury. A plaintiff who cannot who cannot provide sufficient evidence to establish such a condition may not hold the property owner liable. 

Not only must there have been a defective condition on the property, but the defect must a certain character to it. Two important defenses deal with the nature of the defect. First of all, the defect must not have been trivial. What exactly constitutes trivial is a matter for a jury to decide, and there are factors that are supposed to be taken into account. The basic idea, though, is that not every technically defective condition is sufficient to give rise to a claim of negligence.

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In our last post, we began looking at the principles of assumption of risk and comparative fault in premises liability cases. In the state of New York, premises liability is based on negligence, which is the failure to carry out a legal duty owed to another.

While some states make premises liability dependent on the classes of persons who are on the premises—whether they are invitees, trespassers, licensees—New York law focuses more on reasonableness of conduct under the circumstances of the case. Speaking generally, though, a landowner or business owner will be liable when he or she created a dangerous or defective condition which causes an accident or when he or she had notice of the condition and failed to take action to address it in a reasonable amount of time. 

Notice of a dangerous condition may be either actual or constructive, the difference being that constructive notice may be found when a specific defect in the property is visible and apparent and exists for a long enough time that the property owner should have discovered it and taken steps to address it.

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Last time, we began looking at a premises liability case out in California involving an injury that occurred in a New York health club. One of the issues in that case, we noted, was whether the health club patron assumed the risk of injury by participating in an activity offered by the club. Another issue was comparative negligence, and whether or not the patron acted negligently in obtaining the injury.

When it comes to premises liability law, New York is a pure comparative fault state. In tort law, pure comparative negligence refers to a scheme whereby a court can acknowledge a finding of negligence on the part of the plaintiff and reduce any damages awarded in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence in contributing to his or her own injuries. 

This means that one of the defenses available to property owners and businesses in premises liability litigation is that the injured party acted negligently. New York law also recognizes assumption and risk as well, which is a slightly different principle. Assumption of risk is the principle that a property owner or business does not have a duty to protect a patron if the patron freely assumes a known risk. Assumption of risk is usually only applied in cases involving athletic or recreational activities.

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