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Slip and Fall Lawyers
Whether you’re at work, shopping or simply walking down the street, slip and fall injuries are a persistent risk. According to U.S. government statistics, slip and falls account for five-percent of all workplace fatalities for women, and 11-percent of all fatalities for men. Falls are also the leading cause for all emergency room visits in the United States, accounting for more than eight million such trips annually. Slip and falls are also the primary cause of missed time from work.
The risk from these injuries is particularly acute for older people, as hip fractures are a common outcome. Such falls can be permanently disabling, lowering the victim’s quality of life and impacting earning power.
If you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury, it’s important to understand the best course of action to take. Doing so can help ensure that any legal claim you choose to pursue is on solid ground.
What to do if you’ve been the victim of a slip and fall injury
Slip and falls can arise from a variety of circumstances. Common causes include poor lighting, damaged flooring, cracked or broken sidewalks or stairs, torn carpeting and liquid spills. Legal liability in these cases arises when a property owner negligently allows dangerous conditions to exist. These conditions present a risk to the public.
Generally speaking, liability exists when a property owner creates or permits a dangerous condition to persist and unreasonably fails to remedy these risks. Liability may be assigned if the conditions existed for a long enough period that the owner should have identified and remedied the issue or actually knew of the existence of the condition. At times there may be direct evidence of such awareness on the part of the property owner or manager. Often circumstantial evidence may be used to prove such notice of the condition or the length of time that it was present without remedy. The awareness of a condition by an employee of an owner or manager such as a maintenance employee or superintendent may be imputed to his employer under the law.
If you’ve been the victim of a slip, or trip and fall injury, of course the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention. Injuries from a fall can cause trauma which may be much worse than it initially appears. Seek a medical evaluation immediately.
It is important that witnesses be assembled as soon as possible after the event. This includes witnesses to the fall and traumatic impact as well as people who may have knowledge of how long the condition that caused the fall was present and not corrected.
If the superintendent had a routine of inspecting hallways and stairwells, it is important to assemble witnesses to such fact and determine if such inspections were performed on the day of the fall and whether the condition which caused the fall was present and subject to correction by the employee. The failure to correct the condition may be evidence of negligence. Such witnesses ordinarily will recall events shortly after an accident and must be located and interviewed immediately.
There are many scenarios which may exist in a given case and each case is unique on the facts. But a common element in all situations involving a trip or slip and fall is the need to immediately assemble evidence and witnesses that will be required to prove your prospective claim.
It’s also important to document the environment in which the fall occurred. Take note as to whether there may be a surveillance camera in the area of the accident. If so, immediate steps should be taken to ensure that such evidence is preserved. The camera may also have recorded the period of time before the accident and reveal the duration of time that the offending condition existed. An attorney may be able to take necessary steps to put a prospective defendant on notice that they must preserve such evidence. Take photos or videos of any dangerous conditions, as such visual documentation can be key in establishing liability.
If witnesses are present, ask them for statements or contact information. You should also take care to document any expenses that arise as a result of your injury. This includes medical bills, lost wages and any expenses you incur from being unable to pursue your normal lifestyle and day-to-day activities (home modifications, transportation, in-home services, etc.).
You should also save the clothing and shoes that were worn when the injury occurred and avoid making statements to others particularly insurance companies.
The Frankel Law Firm has many years of experience in handling trip and slip and fall cases. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, it is important to promptly seek legal advice and counsel.
Slip & Falls FAQs
Who is legally responsible to maintain New York City sidewalks?
In general, and subject to certain exceptions, it is the responsibility of the owner of a building immediately adjacent to the sidewalk to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition free of defects and obstructions.
When is the City of New York responsible to maintain a sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition?
The City of New York must properly maintain sidewalks abutting a residential property which is either a one-two- or three family residential apartment building exclusively used as a residence and is owner occupied.
I fell on a sidewalk in front of an owner occupied three family home that is used solely for residential purposes. Who can I sue?
The City of New York is responsible for the condition of the sidewalk abutting a one-two or three family owner occupied building used exclusively for residential purposes.
You can sue the City of New York but be aware that there are certain additional legal requirements which must be proven in order for the City of New York to be legally responsible for your injuries.
What requirements must be met in order to prevail in a law suit against the City of New York when the defective sidewalk is abutting a one-two or three family owner occupied private residential building?
There are several situations which would allow for legal liability to attach against the City of New York, including:
- The City of New York properly received prior written notice of the defective condition which proximately caused the person to fall.
- The City of New York caused or created the defective condition which proximately caused the fall.
- The City of New York utilized the sidewalk for a “special use”.
There are special pleading requirements when suing the City of New York and the need to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accrual of the claim.
I fell because of a defective sidewalk in front of a two-family residence which is owner occupied. The house has a store on the ground floor used by a business. Who is legally responsible for the negligent condition?
A residential building that has a commercial enterprise such as a store operating within the structure is considered a mixed-use building. In such a case, the suit should be brought against the owner of the building who is responsible for the proper maintenance of the abutting sidewalk.
I live in an apartment building which has 60 separate apartments. I fell on a sidewalk defect in front of the building which was caused by the roots of a tree which lifted the sidewalk flag leaving the sidewalk uneven. Who is legally responsible for this defect which caused me to fall?
The owner of the abutting building to the defective sidewalk is responsible for the adequate maintenance of the sidewalk adjacent to the building. The fact that the defect was caused by a tree does not alter that result.
The City of New York removed a fire hydrant leaving a hole in the sidewalk in front of my apartment building (the building contains more than three (3) apartments). Someone was injured when they stepped into the open hole. Who should be sued for this defect, the property owner or the City of New York.
The City of New York is the proper defendant as The City of New York is legally responsible to care for that described defect.
The City of New York has the sole responsibility to maintain fire hydrants as well as the hydrant locations within the City of New York. If the City of New York removes a hydrant, they remain legally responsible to maintain the location of the hydrant as well as retaining the legal responsibility not to negligently remove the hydrant and thereby cause and create a dangerous condition to exist.
I was injured when I tripped on a tree root in a tree-well which I did not see and which had giant roots protruding upward within the tree well. Who is legally responsible for this defective condition?
The City of New York is responsible for the proper maintenance of tree wells within the City of New York.
Property owners are not liable for injuries that occur in City-owned tree wells and have no legal responsibility to maintain them.
Does an owner occupied three family condominium qualify for the statutory exemption from liability for defects on the abutting sidewalk?
The owners of a three-family owner occupied condominium are entitled to the statutory exemption from liability and therefore the proper defendant and the party with legal responsibility would be the City of New York if someone falls on the abutting sidewalk.
If the abutting property owner negligently repairs a tree well area within the City of New York, do they then become legally responsible to someone for injuries caused by such repairs?
If an abutting property owner negligently repairs a tree well within the City of New York, the property owner becomes liable for his or her own acts and omissions.
Who is responsible in the City of New York, if a pedestrian ramp is too steep and thereby causes a pedestrian to stumble and fall?
The City of New York is legally responsible for the maintenance and proper design of pedestrian ramps within the City of New York.
Verdicts & Settlements
- $8 Million for Pedestrian Knockdown Case
- $3 Million for Lead Poisoning Case
- $3 Million for Pedestrian Knockdown Case
- 2.6 Million for Lead Poisoning Case
- 2.2 Million for Lead Poisoning Case
- 2 Million for Lead Poisoning Case
- 1.875 Million for Defective Product Case
- 1.5 Million for Lead Poisoning Case
Frankel Law Firm was extremely professional. They were very helpful with every step of the process, always reachable to answer questions and give excellent advice. They were a pleasure to work with!