Slip and falls can be both embarrassing and painful, especially if you are seriously injured. The New York Slip and Fall Guide was created by personal injury attorney Leslie Krause to help injured residents get their maximum settlement compensation.
Slip and fall accidents are a relatively common accident in New York, but it can cause serious injuries that could affect you for the rest of your life. If you were hurt, contact a New York slip and fall lawyer to have your potential claim evaluated.
What Is a Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall accidents occur when someone slips or trips because of a hazard that exists on property that belongs to another person or entity. The person is injured in some way as a result of the accident. Slip and fall accidents are known as premises liability, a branch of law. Under this area of civil law, a property owner or their agent has a duty to keep the property reasonably safe to keep others from being injured.
The most common slip and falls include slippery surfaces; puddles; spills; unsafe stairways; falling from a balcony, porch, stoop, or terrace; tripping or twisting an ankle because of a problem with a sidewalk or driveway; ice and snow build-up that wasn’t properly cleared; parking lots in serious disrepair; elevators and escalators; cluttered aisles or floors located in stores; loose carpet; poor lighting; a water leak; spilled food or drinks; and poor design of the area where the accident happened.
When Is a Property Owner Responsible for a Slip and Fall?
As mentioned above, a slip and fall accident is part of an area of law known as premises liability. A property owner is responsible for injuries caused by a slip and fall if they have an obligation to maintain their property in a safe condition for invitees. An invitee is someone who is invited to the property. This can be someone who is invited to an event such as a birthday party, a barbecue, or a wedding; someone who is considered a patron of a restaurant, clothing store, grocery store, or other place where goods or services are offered; someone such as a house guest, house sitter, pet sitter, or baby sitter who visits the property. There are many other instances where a property owner may be considered liable for a slip and fall. If you believe that a property owner is responsible for your injuries, schedule an appointment with a New York slip and fall lawyer to discuss the facts surrounding your case.
When Slip and Fall Accidents Happen Because of Ice or Snow
New York is no stranger to inclement winter weather. Ice and snow can cause slip and fall accidents. Property owners have a duty to take reasonable action (and a reasonable amount of time) to remove snow and ice. This includes parking lots and some sidewalks. However, property owners are not generally required to go out in the middle of a snowstorm to clean up their sidewalk and the parking lot. If you slip and fall in the middle of a winter storm, the property owner may not be liable for your injuries.
The Elements of a Slip and Fall
There are specific elements that must be present for you to have a successful claim. If you believe that your slip and fall meets these requirements, talk with a qualified New York slip and fall lawyer:
- The property owner or their agent had an obligation to make sure that their property was reasonably safe.
- The property owner or their agent was negligent and did not fulfill their obligation to maintain the property in a way that is considered reasonable.
- The negligence of the property owner or their agent was the direct cause of your fall.
- You had actual injuries or losses that you suffered because of the fall caused by their negligence.
Slipping and falling isn’t enough to warrant a successful claim. You must have actual physical injuries, emotional injuries, property damage, or another form of actual loss for your claim to possibly be successful.
Negligence is an essential element for a successful claim. Negligence on the part of the property owner or their agent is determined by the type of location where the accident occurred (such as someone’s home, a private venue hosting an event, or a retail establishment of some kind). For example, a grocery store has a duty to inspect their property to ensure it is safe. They also have a duty to repair dangerous conditions or, where necessary, warn their customers about them. Home owners also have an obligation to maintain their property. They must also take reasonable steps to keep their property free of hazards or warn those who visit that the hazards exist. The State and City also have obligations related to the safe upkeep of public property, too.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall
If you’re hurt in a slip and fall:
- Report the accident. This could involve calling the police (non-emergency) if you don’t have a serious injury, notifying the manager on duty in a retail establishment, or informing the homeowner. The police can take an informational report that documents what happened. Store managers can also create an incident report. While a homeowner may not take an actual report, it can be reported to their insurance company.
- Get medical care as soon as you can. If you hit your head, break a bone, hurt your neck, hurt your back, or have another serious injury, call 911. Those are medical emergencies. If you have an injury that you don’t believe is a medical emergency or even if you don’t think that you’re hurt at all, you still need medical attention. You could be hurt and not know it because of the adrenaline rush that often occurs during an accident. Minor injuries can get significantly worse if they are not treated. Many internal injuries don’t have symptoms until it’s too late.
- Take photos of the accident scene. It’s important that you document the scene. This includes where you were and why the fall happened. You can also take pictures of your injuries.
- Get contact information from witnesses. This includes the name, address, and telephone number for any person who saw what happened. This information can be helpful for the insurance company and for your lawyer.
- Be careful about what you say after the slip and fall. Don’t admit any guilt. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t argue about how the slip and fall was caused. It’s important that you protect your potential claim. If you accept any sort of responsibility, even if it is just a slip of the tongue, you could reduce the likelihood that you’ll receive financial compensation. Instead, focus only on relaying the facts.
- Don’t throw away the shoes or wash the clothes. Your shoes and clothes could be evidence that can be used to prove negligence.
Frequently Asked Questions | New York Slip and Fall Guide
What Should My First Step Be?
When you are involved in a slip and fall case in New York where you sustained a serious injury, the first thing you should do is get medical attention. Go to the hospital, go to your doctor, and make sure you’re okay. You never know when you fall to the ground what exact injury you have. You want to make sure you’re okay. Your health is the most important thing in any situation, and you must tend and take care of your health.
Then you must find yourself an experienced lawyer who does only personal injury work and is experienced in slip and fall cases. They will guide you and take care of your case and pursue your case to its maximum benefit. Too many times people are in slip and fall cases and they miss the proper time to sue. They make mistakes; they don’t know exactly what they are doing. That’s why you need an experienced attorney who will investigate, who will look very carefully to make sure they have all the parties involved and will immediately proceed with a lawsuit to make you as much money for your lawsuit as possible in the shortest period of time.
What Do I Do If I Fell at Someone’s Home?
If you are injured on a residential property, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Nothing is more important than your health. You must immediately go to the hospital, let them check you out, or go to your private physician and let your private physician check you out and take care of the injuries that you sustained. That’s the first and most important thing you should do.
Secondly, you should then seek out a personal injury lawyer, someone who specializes in personal injury and is aware of slip and fall cases, that can protect all your rights. That person will determine who the owner of the property is, the liability of the property where you fell, and how to pursue the owner of that property to get you as much money as soon as possible to fully cover the extent of your injuries.
There are many variations to a slip and fall case; none of them are the same. You have to have an experienced attorney look at every single factor and take those factors that are most in your benefit. Your attorney will determine what is best for you, pursue these factors and push them to get you as much money as possible to cover the injuries you sustained due to the slip and fall that was probably not your fault.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Companies?
If you are injured in a slip and fall case where you sustained a serious injury, I recommend that you never speak to the insurance company. The insurance company is there to protect their client. The insurance company is not there to protect you. The primary goal of every insurance company is to make profit, so they can give money to their shareholders. Making profit and making you a big offer are not the same thing. They’re not interested in settling the case. They’re not interested in helping you. They’re interested in helping themselves and protecting their client.
You should never speak to an insurance company. You should never fill out any forms provided by the insurance company. You should first hire yourself an experienced personal injury lawyer who has experience in slip and fall cases. That lawyer will guide you. They will talk to the insurance company for you, or if the company wants your recorded statement and the lawyer thinks it’s advisable, they will be with you when the statement is being recorded. That lawyer will review all forms, and help you fill them out. Sometimes it’s best just to avoid them completely; there’s nothing to be gained. It depends on the situation, but you will know the answer to that by having an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows exactly what to do, how to handle it, and how to represent you in front of these insurance companies. Insurance companies are not your friend; always remember that. In any situations, they are not there to help you.
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
You need to research and find an attorney that only does personal injury cases and does a lot of slip and fall cases. You don’t want the attorney who does the divorce, and does the real estate closing, and does the will, and will also do accidents. That’s not the attorney for you. The attorney for you is one who does only personal injury work, and has a lot of experience in that area. I, for instance, have been doing this for 45 years. The more experience your attorney has, the more they can use that experience to your benefit to push your case to its optimum value.
You also want the attorney who’s there for you, not the attorney who you meet for five minutes and ushers you out to a paralegal and you never see again. You want the attorney who, if you call up and have a question, they will pick up the phone. You want the attorney who, if you feel you need to meet with him and speak to him because something bothers you, that attorney says, “Come in; we’ll talk.” You want an attorney who, when you call asking the status of your case, they immediately give you the idea of where your case is, where it’s going, and what’s going on.
In our office, we take pride that we always talk to our clients. I will always meet and speak with my clients. I will always tell them where they are at any time in the case. We’re here to represent you. You want the lawyer who will be there for you, no matter what your needs are. That’s the type of lawyer you need to hire.
Should I Take a First Settlement Offer?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a slip and fall case in New York, it usually never makes any sense to take the first offer from the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier always starts low; they never start with their best offer, and they never start with the offer that really pays for the injuries that you sustained. Your attorney has experience in negotiating with insurance companies. This is a long process. It doesn’t start immediately; it doesn’t end immediately. The first offer is usually not the offer that fully reimburses you for the damages that you sustained.
I would say a first offer is just an opening bid; it’s just a first comment. It has nothing to do with the final offer; it has nothing to do with how much your case is worth. It has nothing to do with how much money you’re going to get, and you must take your time and do the proper amount of work. You can push your case hard in court, keep on sending those medical specials to the carrier, keep on proving what injuries you have and how much your case is worth, so in the end they will pay you the proper amount.
What are Common Mistakes Made After a Slip and Fall?
The common mistakes that people make when they’re seriously injured in a slip and fall in New York are that they don’t take care of their medical needs. It is most important, when you have an injury due to a slip and fall, that you immediately seek out medical help. Go to the hospital, go to a doctor, go to a clinic, and see what’s wrong with you. There are many injuries that can be sustained when you slip and fall, and it’s most important you find out what those injuries are and how to treat them immediately. Too many times I find clients with broken bones, that don’t realize it till the next day. This type of hesitation can delay the healing of these injuries. The minute you’re injured, seek out medical help. Nothing is more important.
Another mistake that people make is that they talk to the insurance carriers. Don’t talk to the insurance carriers. The insurance carrier is representing the party that owns the property. They’re not representing you. They want to help the party that owns the property. They’re not interested in your needs. They’re not interested in anything that’s for you. They want to save money. They want to have more profits for their shareholders. They’re not there to help you in any way, shape and form. You shouldn’t talk to the insurance companies, and you shouldn’t fill out any forms for the insurance companies. You need to have a lawyer help you.
The last mistake is that people hire attorneys that are not experienced in slip and falls. You must hire an attorney who’s 100% a personal injury lawyer with experience in slip and falls. The attorney that will do your divorce, will do your house closing, will help prepare a will for you and do your slip and fall is not the attorney for you. You want someone who completely does only negligence, who knows all the time variations, all the rules, all the nuances to do the best possible job for you, and make you the most possible money for your injuries in the shortest period of time.
How Long Do I Have to File?
That is a complex question because it depends on what caused the accident and who caused the accident. Was the slip and fall caused by a municipality? Was it caused by the township? Was it caused by a private party? Was it caused by a power company? Was it caused by a cable company? There are many different parties who could be the cause of a slip and fall, and each one has its own separate rules that apply to it.
The important thing to do when you have this question is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through this process and who can file all of the appropriate papers within the time limits. You should find someone who does only personal injury work. You want an experienced personal injury lawyer with a long history, a knowledge of personal injury, who can help you in this situation. In this office, if we have a serious injury from a slip and fall, as soon as we determine who the guilty party is and who the defendants will be, we don’t wait for the time limits; we immediately file a suit in court to push your case as hard towards court as possible.
There are time limits. Some go for short periods, some go for long periods, but there’s really no reason to wait for them. We get the case moving, push it as hard as we can, and make the client as much money as possible in the shortest possible time.
Can I Sue a City or Municipality?
If you are seriously injured in New York due to the fault of the county, the municipality, or any other government subdivision and you wonder, can you sue these people? The answer is yes. These entities can be held responsible for the damages caused by their negligence. Each one of them has separate rules and regulations in how to go about suing them. The counties, municipalities and cities all are like the sovereign state, and the sovereign can’t be sued unless certain specifics are met.
It’s very important that you hire an experienced attorney who knows exactly what the specifics are and how you give notice to these entities within the proper amount of time. Many of these entities have specific notice statutes, such as you have to give notice immediately, and then have a very short statute of limitations that you have to begin the lawsuit within. It’s very easy to make a mistake if you don’t know what you’re doing.
When you have such a case, make sure that you hire a lawyer who’s experienced in personal injury and experienced in personal injury cases against municipalities and other similar types of entities, so that your rights will be completely and fully protected, so you can get the money that’s owed to you.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Determining the value of a slip and fall case in New York is a very complex task. It’s based on many factors. It’s determined on what the injury is, what the prognosis is for your injury, and how you will be in the future. It’s also determined by the liability and how the accident happened. It’s a very complex type of question, and the answer can be given to you by an experienced personal injury lawyer. It’s not something you need to find out on your own, it’s something the lawyer needs to explain to you.
When they have money on your case, they should sit down and explain to you all the nuances of your case and say, “This is your injury: this is a good part; this is a bad part. This is the liability: this is the good part, this is the bad part. This is what they offered: this is what we think your case is worth; this is what we think you should do.” Many times I tell the clients, “This is the offer. Don’t take it; it’s too low; we want more.” Many times I tell the client, “This is a good offer. We can take a little more, maybe; let’s go a little farther.” Many times it’s, “This is it. We’re not going to get any more. Even if we try the case, I don’t think we’ll do better.” It depends, but that’s based upon the experience of the attorney. That’s why it’s important to get yourself an attorney who only does personal injury work and has a lot of years of experience in doing this type of law.
Can I Get Compensated if I’m Hurt Due to a Faulty Handrail?
Should you slip and fall and have a serious injury in New York, due to a faulty handrail, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Nothing is more important than your health. Go to the emergency room. Go to your private physician. Go to a quick care physician and make sure you’re okay. You never know what injuries you sustained. You never know exactly what’s going on in your body after you fall due to a faulty handrail. You could have fallen down several flights of stairs; you could have fallen down all the stairs. It’s a dangerous type of situation, and the first and most important thing is your health.
After you secure your health, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney who’s experienced in all things relating to slip and falls including faulty handrails. It’s very important that the attorney immediately investigate what caused the accident, why the handrail was faulty, who they are owners that are responsible for maintaining that handrail, and who will be responsible for you for the damages that you sustained. If you have a serious injury, you want to immediately have a lawsuit begun on your behalf so that your rights will be protected and that you will obtain the maximum amount of money that you are due. It’s very important that you find someone who’s experienced, who knows what they’re doing, and will immediately work on your behalf to get you the maximum amount of money due to you.
Will a Warning Sign Ruin My Case?
It can affect the case in many ways. You must determine exactly where the warning sign is, where the defect is, and if the client had warning about the defect. Some of these signs are put in the most ridiculous places that have nothing whatsoever to do with the defect. It depends on the facts. It depends exactly where the warning sign is, what the defect is, and the relation between the two of them. What you must do, to get the best answer for yourself, is hire yourself an experienced personal injury lawyer who will know exactly what to look for, what to investigate, and what to find. You want someone who has experience with these types of cases and will help you out, so you can maximize and get the best amount of money that you can get for the injuries you sustained.
In the 45 years that I’ve been practicing, I’ve had many encounters with warning signs; most of them did not stop us from bringing a case. Most of them were not beneficial to the defendants and did not hurt my clients all that much. Warning signs by themselves don’t mean anything. It’s where the warning sign is, it’s how effective it is, and how it affects the case. Get an experienced attorney to look at it. That’s the way you’ll learn how it will affect your case.
What Should I Do If I Fall on Faulty Stairs?
If you slip and fall in New York and sustain a serious injury due to faulty steps, you definitely have a case. What you must do immediately is take care of all your medical needs. Go to the hospital, and go to the doctor to see how you are. If you fell down the steps, you can be very seriously injured. Take care of those injuries. Secondly, go find yourself an experienced New York slip and fall attorney who will immediately investigate the steps, have pictures taken of the steps, have an investigator look at the steps, have an engineer look at the steps if necessary, and do everything necessary to protect your rights so you can have a very effective case against the person who is responsible for them.
There is no way I can underestimate the importance of hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. If a lawyer never did this type of case before, they’re really at a loss of exactly what needs to be done and what to present in court to show proof that these steps were at fault for your accident and not you. It’s important you get yourself an experienced lawyer who will represent you well and make you the most possible money in the shortest possible period of time.
How Do I Prove I Wasn’t at Fault?
Your lawyer will guide you, review all the facts, review the location, investigate the location, and see if you have a viable case against the owner of that entity. If you have a viable case, then the lawyer will pursue the case.
The key is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer with many years in personal injury cases. That person will know what a case is and what is not a case, and what to look for. It is very important that you get the best possible representation available to you, so that you can get the maximum amount of money for the injuries you sustained due to the negligence of the faulty party.
How Long Will My Case Take?
That’s really a very complex question because it depends on many factors. There are no two cases that are exactly the same. Some cases involve easy people to deal with, where it’s clear who’s at fault. Some cases you have to do an awful lot of investigation to figure out exactly who’s at fault. It depends what type of case you have.
Some cases, the injury is crystal clear in the very beginning; you’ll know what the injury is and you have a pretty good idea what the prognosis is. Other cases, injuries keep on growing. Maybe there’s an operation six months later; maybe there’s another operation six months after that. You have to wait. You have to wait and see the entire injury to decide how much the entire injury is worth. You can’t rush these things, especially with slip and falls. It can often lead to operations, and the operations can often lead to further operations. You need to see everything there is. You need the doctor to determine no more treatment is necessary. This is the future for this client. Then you can determine how much this client should get for the injury that the client has sustained.
As far as the other side, it depends who the defendants are, who their insurance carriers are, and many other factors that go into the case. A lot of these cases, especially the slip and falls, have to be pursued. They have to go to court. There has to be depositions, EBTs, and discovery. What we like to do when we have a serious injury for a slip and fall case is we immediately put it into suit and pursue it so we can get to the very end of the suit and the payment for the client as quickly as possible. We can work as hard as we can to get what the client deserves, so the client gets every penny the client should get for the injury that the client sustained.
Call Our New York Slip and Fall Lawyers
Don’t wait. We can help you by dealing with the potential defendant and any insurance company that may get involved. This is important because an insurance company could offer you a settlement that doesn’t pay you what you deserve. If you agree to a settlement, you could lose your legal right to sue. Our New York slip and fall lawyers have the job of looking out for your best interest. Please give Krause & Glassmith a call today if you have any questions.