If you are injured on someone else’s property in the Bronx and New York City – a situation that gives rise to what is known as “Premises Liability” under the law – consulting with top Bronx premises liability attorneys is the best way to ensure that your rights against the property owner are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. New York law provides that property owners are duty bound to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn others of dangerous defects on their property. If a property owner in the Bronx and New York City is negligent in failing to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, and someone is injured, skilled Bronx premises liability lawyers can take the property owner to court and hold them responsible. In some cases, Bronx premises liability attorneys can also persuade New York City courts to hold tenants (who lease property from the owner) responsible for accidents occurring on any premises that they have leased and are operating.
Owners and tenants of residential, public and commercial properties in the Bronx and New York City are subject to a vast array of laws and rules such as the New York Multiple Dwelling Law, the New York City “Pothole Law”, the New York City Building Code, the New York City Administrative Code, and various professional standards (such as the ANSI/ASME Standards as applied to elevator accidents) that, depending on the circumstances, may apply to create legal obligations regarding the safety of their property. Our expert Bronx personal injury lawyers have over a century of combined experience handling a wide variety of premises accident lawsuits, including:
- Trip and Fall Accidents.
- Slip and Fall Accidents.
- Falls Down Stairs.
- Sidewalk Accidents.
- Elevator Accidents.
- Escalator Accidents.
- Unsafe Worksites – Labor Law § 200.
- Trip and Fall Accidents on Construction Sites.
- Failures to Comply with Building and Construction Codes.
- Fire Safety.
- Governmental Premises Liability on Public Lands, Sidewalks and Roadways.
- Negligent Roadway Design.
- The N.Y.C. “Pothole Law” – Prior Written Notice Requirement.
What are the Basic Legal Requirements of a Bronx Premises Liability Case?
Though it may seem simple, proving a Bronx premises liability case is often very complicated, requiring layers of analysis that only the best accident lawyers are capable of performing. There are many elements to a successful premises liability lawsuit, and only attorneys with the proper resources and knowledge of applicable law can ensure that your case is successful. Investigations must be done in a timely and thorough manner with the aide of expert witnesses who will prove the necessary elements of your case and ensure that the key evidence is identified and preserved for presentation at trial. Any misstep can result in lost evidence or other handicaps to your case from which you may not be able to recover; for this reason, selecting the right Bronx property accident lawyers to handle your premises liability case is an essential ingredient to success
Under New York law, there are three major legal requirements that must be proven in order to prevail in a New York premises liability case: (i) Ownership and control of the property, (ii) the existence of a dangerous defect that caused an accident, and (iii) prior notice of the defect.
With respect to ownership and control of a property, the law holds owners of any property responsible for any dangerous conditions that exist on the property. This duty is known as a “non-delegable duty”, meaning that, even if the landlord has delegated the responsibility for operation and management of a property to someone else, the landlord is still legally responsible for injuries caused by defective conditions on their property in most cases. Identifying the owner is the first, and among the most important, steps in any premises liability case. This is generally done by searching through publically filed property documents (which are generally filed with a local municipality such as the City of New York) for deeds that identify the owner, or owners, of a property.
It is important to correctly identify every owner of a property and to include all of them as defendants in an accident case because failing to do so can result in a reduction in available compensation under Article 16 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. It is also important to identify and sue every other party that may be responsible for the accident (such as a contractor who may have done work that caused an unsafe condition), because failing to do so can also result in a reduction in available compensation under Article 16 of the CPLR. Finally, identifying and suing all tenants leasing portions of a property is important, because landlords may be able to avoid legal liability by showing that the tenant totally displaced the owner insofar as its duties to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition are concerned.
The next major element of a premises liability case is demonstrating that an accident was caused by a dangerous defect on the property in question. This requires (i) that the plaintiff testify that it was the contact with the defect in question that caused their accident, (ii) that it be shown that the defect was not so “open, obvious and not inherently dangerous” as to be non-actionable, and (iii) that it be shown that the defect was sufficiently large or dangerous under the circumstances so as not to be considered “de minimis” (too small to be considered an unsafe condition). Careful investigation and preparation is required to ensure that all three of these requirements are met in any premises accident lawsuit.
Finally, it must be proven that the defendants (the owner, the tenant, etc.) knew, or should have known, about the defect and failed to take appropriate steps to remedy it despite having had ample opportunity to do so. This legal concept is called “notice”, and is at the heart of every premises liability lawsuit. Notice can be demonstrated two ways: (i) By proving that the defendant, or an agent of the defendant, actually knew about the defect (whether by actually observing it, or by being told about it), or (ii) by proving that the defect was present for such a long time that the defendant should have been able to discover and remedy it by the exercise of ordinary care (by performing inspections, maintenance or repairs as is customarily done by any property owner). Actual notice is most often proven through deposition testimony or by documentary evidence (such as inspection records). Constructive notice can be demonstrated by the use of photographs of the defect to show that it was old or present for a long period of time, or by expert testimony such as an opinion from an engineer that the nature of the defect and the facts of the case show that the defect must have been present for a significant period of time. The notice requirement can also be satisfied by proving that the defendants caused or created the defect in question (such as by mopping a floor and failing to properly dry the floor or place signs warning passers by of a wet and slippery condition).
What are Some of the Most Important Laws and Rules That Apply to a Premises Liability Case?
The answer to this question depends on the type of accident underlying your premises liability case. For example, if you are injured by slipping and falling down a flight of stairs in an apartment building, Section 78 of the New York Multiple Dwelling Law, which requires that certain types of property owners keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition, will apply. The NYC Building Code will also apply in an accident involving a fall down stairs if the staircase is not properly constructed or does not feature proper handrails
If, for example, you are injured in a trip-and-fall accident due to an unsafe condition on a sidewalk in front of a commercial building in the Bronx, Sections 7-210 and 16-123 of the NYC Administrative Code will apply to place liability on the adjacent building owner, and will also set forth the standards for measuring whether the dangerous condition that caused your accident can be the basis for liability (e.g., if the defect in the sidewalk is more than half an inch in size, the property owner can be held responsible under the Administrative Code). Sidewalk accidents in which the City of New York is a defendant are subject to Section 7-210 of the Administrative Code, also known as the “Pothole Law”, and require proof that the City was given prior written notice of the dangerous condition in question at least ten days prior to the occurrence of an accident.
As another example, if you suffer burn injuries in a fire in a commercial building, the New York City Building Code may provide a basis for liability against the landlord if the building was not constructed properly or updated to comply with fire codes and fire safety requirements.
As a final example, if you are injured in an Elevator Accident, your Bronx accident lawyer should hire an elevator expert to demonstrate that the elevator in question was not constructed or maintained in accordance with the ANSI/ASME elevator safety codes, which will provide important evidence of negligence in an elevator accident case.
Because of the litany of rules and statutes that apply to various situations in which an accident occurs, you have to be certain that you retain experienced Bronx premises accident lawyers to evaluate, prepare and prosecute your case under the correct rules. Knowing, from the outset, what rules apply to your case is essential to proper preparation and investigation, and is key to success at trial.
What Types of Injuries can Result in Premises Liability Accident Cases?
The types of injuries that result from premises liability accidents are extremely varied. In trip and fall accidents and slip and fall accidents, broken bones are common, as are herniated discs in the spine and other soft-tissue injuries to tendons a ligaments in the joints. Burn injuries can also result when fires occur, or when radiators or electrical equipment malfunction inside a building. Falls down stairs, elevator accidents and escalator accidents can also cause very serious injuries including broken bones and spinal cord injuries. Sidewalk accidents are also common causes of broken bonesand herniated discs in the spine.
If you are injured in an accident in the Bronx or New York City, our experienced premises liability attorneys will help you by putting you in touch with the right doctors and obtaining you the insurance benefits that you need and deserve to make sure that you get proper medical treatment. Getting the right treatment that is properly documented is not only a medical necessity, but is also essential to proving any premises liability case in court. Our team of experienced Bronx accident lawyers have the tools – a network of expert physicians and medical providers – to help you get on the road to recovery after a catastrophic accident.