Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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Dog bites can cause serious harm, potentially triggering a Syracuse personal injury lawsuit. In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant owed him or her a legal duty, that this duty was breached, that the plaintiff was harmed, and that the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In a case involving a dog bite injury, however, the usual rules do not apply. Rather, under New York law, a dog’s owner will not be held to be “negligent,” even if his or her dog bites another person and causes serious personal injury.

Instead, the law of strict liability applies – but, only if the dog has either been previously adjudicated as a dangerous animal or if the victim can prove that the dog had a dangerous tendency to bite (and that the owner knew this.) If the owner is held strictly liable, he or she must pay both the human victim’s medical expenses and the veterinary costs if another animal was involved.

Facts of the Case

A recent case arising from the Supreme Court of Erie County, New York, involved an encounter between the plaintiff and her dog and two dogs owned by the defendants. According to the plaintiff, she was walking her dog when the defendants’ dog approached them. One of the defendants’ dogs only sniffed at the plaintiff’s dog, but the other dog allegedly came toward them at a full run and began biting the plaintiff’s dog. The plaintiff, in turn, lost her balance, fell over one of the dogs, and fractured her arm.

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In a New York “slip and fall” negligence case, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to him or her, proximately causing the damages for which he or she seeks monetary compensation. Because New York is a pure comparative negligence state, it is likely that the defendant in such a case will try to place as much fault as possible on the plaintiff. Under the doctrine of pure comparative fault, the plaintiff’s own fault will not bar recovery, but it will reduce the damages that are recoverable in proportion to the plaintiff’s own negligence.

In other words, if the jury finds that the plaintiff is entitled to $50,000 in monetary damages for his or her injuries suffered in a fall but determines that he or she was 50% at fault in the accident, the plaintiff will only receive $25,000.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who filed suit against the defendant landlord in the Supreme Court for Niagara County, asserting a cause of action for negligence. According to the plaintiff, she slipped and fell outside her apartment building due to ice that the defendant had failed to remove. The plaintiff’s suit seeking compensatory damages for her personal injuries proceeded to a jury trial.

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Slip and fall accidents are all too common. A business may neglect to clean up snow and ice in a timely fashion, or an area grocery store may have an employee who doesn’t clean up a spill after being told to do so. These and many other scenarios can lead to a Syracuse premises liability lawsuit. Like other negligence actions, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant breached a legal duty to him or her and that this was the proximate cause of his or her personal injuries in order to prevail at trial.

This can be a difficult proposition, especially if the allegedly dangerous condition was only present for a short time. Having effective legal representation can help improve the plaintiff’s chances of success on the merits of his or her claim.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case was a woman who sought monetary compensation for personal injuries she suffered during a slip and fall accident on the premises of an apartment building. She filed suit against the defendants, the owners of the building, seeking payment for her medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the fall. According to the plaintiff, her fall occurred due to the wet condition of a staircase at the building, and the defendants either knew about the condition or, in the exercise of due diligence, should have known about it.

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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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