Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability involves the set of laws regulating commercial and residential property owners and their responsibilities to keep visitors safe. As the owner or possessor of a piece of land, one has certain duties to keep the property reasonably free from hazards. In New York City, a landowner can be held liable for injuries resulting from a breach of these duties of care. If you were seriously injured on public or private property, contact Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C. Our attorneys have significant experience handling a wide range of premises liability claims and can help secure compensation for your injuries.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Premises liability accidents encompass a wide variety of injuries. In New York City, falls down faulty staircases, on slippery floors, elevator accidents or trip and falls on New York City’s over 12,750 miles of side walks are among the most common types of premises liability accidents. Property owners may be liable for failing to repair hazards, in a timely manner. Notable types of New York City premises liability cases our firm has handled include:
- Staircase accidents
- Elevator accidents
- Ceiling collapses
- Improperly maintained cellar doors
- Falling objects
- Slip and falls
- Parking lot falls
- Cracked or broken sidewalks
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
When you think about a slip and fall, you might imagine a bruised hip or sore wrists. You may not realize that slip and fall accidents often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Such accidents put thousands of New Yorkers in the hospital each year, and kill hundreds more. Many personal injury and wrongful death claims enter the New York civil court system each year a result of slip and fall accidents around the State and in New York City. Damages can be extensive in these claims. Severe injuries that can occur in a bad fall include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrist sprains and breaks
Unintentional falls were the number one leading cause of injury hospitalization and the number two cause of injury-related death in New York City from 2012 to 2014 encompassing nearly every age group.
An estimated 29,736 people in New York City visited the hospital for unintentional fall-related injuries during this time period. Head and brain injuries are some of the most common fall-related harms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), accounting for more than 35%. TBIs can affect all aspects of life, from cognitive function and speech to motor skills. Patients with TBIs may never fully recover from their injuries.
Stairs are everywhere in New York City; in the subway, in walkup apartment buildings, and in the park. While millions of New Yorkers depend on staircases every day, faulty or poorly maintained stairs can be extremely dangerous. The most common stair defects that lead to injury are:
- Handrail defects – Broken or poorly secured handrails can’t properly stabilize someone during a fall.
- Surface defects – uneven carpet, loose tiles or foreign objects on the stairs can cause falls and lead to serious injury.
- Riser height differences – if the height from stair to stair is uneven, it can create dangerous trip hazards going up and balance and fall hazards going down.
- Improper lighting – an improperly or poorly lit stairway can be a very dangerous condition for stair users.
Elevators and Premises Liability
There are more than 70,000 elevators and escalators in operation in New York City. While technology has improved over the years, a defect or malfunction can lead to significant injuries or even death. Malfunctions happen routinely. In fact, the FDNY receives over 11,000 calls per year for people stuck in elevators due to malfunctions.
Most Common Types of Elevator Malfunctions and Causes of Injury
- Pulley system malfunctions – leading to rapid drops of several stories or more.
- Open shaft fall hazards due to faulty doors or failure to protect the public during repairs – open shaft accidents most likely to lead to death.
- Incomplete or inadequate maintenance or repair.
- Faulty wiring or elevator control malfunctions – faulty wiring leading to electrocution risk or even fire.
- Door malfunctions – faulty door sensors causing elevator doors to close on passengers, potentially causing crush injury.
- Entrapment – leading to stuck passengers for varying periods of time.
- Uneven leveling when doors open at floors – cause passengers to fall and can lead to head injuries, torn ligaments and fractures.
On average, 27 people are killed and over 10,000 are injured in elevator accidents every year in the U.S. If you or a loved one were injured in a New York City elevator, you may have a case against the manufacturer of the elevator, the building owner or even the elevator maintenance or repair company. Our experienced attorneys understand what to look for and how to handle these complex cases, call today for a free consultation.
In addition to elevators, cellar doors in New York City pose a hazard for many pedestrians. Open or defective cellar grates and doors can lead to significant injury or even death. In fact, according to statistics, one person falls through a cellar grate in New York City every twenty months. Many cellar doors and grates lead to spaces as much as four or five stories deep, some even hover above subway lines, high voltage transformers and other hazards. However, falling through a grate is not the only way pedestrians can be injured. Cellar doors, numbering over 39,000 in New York City, are essentially a trapdoor down to the cellar of a street-level business and can be springy in the middle. The New York City Administrative Code requires cellar grates and doors to be flush with the surrounding street and depress no more than one inch. Yet, despite the laws to protect, many property owners do not keep them in safe condition. Stepping in the middle of an improperly maintained grate can lead to foot entanglement or entrapment, slips and falls, and other injuries.
Do You Have a Case Against a Property Owner?
Not every slip and fall on someone else’s property gives you the right to file a lawsuit. However, anyone who has suffered an injury on a commercial or residential property should contact an attorney. At Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C., our attorneys understand the intricacies of premises liability law in New York and will carefully review every aspect of your case.
Damages in Premises Liability Cases
The damages an injured party seeks in a premises liability claim are similar to most other types of personal injury cases. They can include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are those that compensate a party after another party causes losses or injuries. There are two types of compensatory damages: “special” and “general.” Special damages, or economic damages, are those that are quantifiable. For example, medical bills, hospital expenses, property damage costs, lost wages, and the loss of future earnings.
General damages include physical pain, emotional suffering, psychological damage, mental anguish, lost quality of life, lost enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. The jury will calculate general damages based on the severity of the trauma, recovery time, and its lasting effects on the injured party’s daily life. The exact method of calculation is in the hands of the jury.
Contact Our New York City Premises Liability Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one were injured on someone else’s property, you need to speak with an attorney. Whatever your specific situation may be, Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C offers a case evaluation where you can speak to someone risk free. After speaking with one of our skilled attorneys, you may discover you have been the victim of a negligent property owner and are eligible to compensation. Let us examine your case and help you transform your future after a premises liability accident. Contact us online to set up your consultation.