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New York Woman’s Slip and Fall Claim Fails, Due to Lack of Proof as to How Much Water Was Present in Floor or How Long it Had Been There

Generally speaking, in order to be successful in a Syracuse slip and fall case, the injured party must be able to prove that he or she was injured as a result of the negligence of a business owner or land holder.

The law does not allow for money damages simply because one person fell on someone else’s land; rather, there must have been some deviation from the usual standard of care owed to those who lawfully come upon another’s property before a verdict can be entered in the plaintiff’s favor.

Because these cases can be challenging, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible if think you may have a claim against a business or landowner due to injuries suffered in a fall-down accident.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided civil case, the plaintiff was a woman who allegedly fell in the vestibule of a building owned by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, seeking financial compensation for her injuries. The Supreme Court of New York County granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court had committed reversible error in ruling in the defendant’s favor on the issue of summary judgment.

Decision of the Court

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the lower court’s decision, agreeing with the lower tribunal that the defendant was entitled to summary judgment. To be successful in a premises liability lawsuit based upon the negligence of a landowner or business operator, the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to him or her and that this was the proximate cause of the damages complained of in his or her legal action. Here, the plaintiff alleged that the she had slipped and fallen in water located in the vestibule of the building and that the water was present in this location due to the defendant’s negligence.

However, the appeals court pointed out that, although the plaintiff contended that the floor was wet due to rainwater being tracked into the vestibule, the plaintiff did not present any evidence as to the amount of water that was present or any proof as to how long the water had been present prior to her fall. Given that the evidence did not demonstrate a “specific recurring dangerous condition” that the defendant had routinely failed to address, the court found that the defendant had established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, because the plaintiff was only able to show a “general awareness” of the condition, the plaintiff’s attempt to show that the defendant had actionable notice of the condition that caused her fall failed.

Consult a Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Slip and fall cases can be difficult. This does not mean, however, that a person who is injured on someone else’s property should not at least consider the possibility of seeking legal redress for injuries suffered in such an accident. Each case stands on its own facts, and an experienced Syracuse personal injury lawyer can explain the legal requirements for holding a negligent property owner accountable. To schedule a free consultation with the helpful Syracuse premises liability lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, call us at 315-479-9000 today.

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