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New York City Premises Liability Lawyers


Representing Clients Injured in Premises Liability Cases in New York City

People who own or have control of property have a responsibility to properly maintain it. Failing to maintain property can result in slip-and-falls and other accidents that cause serious and even fatal injuries. Many of these injuries will leave victims unable to work or care for their families and may even leave permanent scars or disabilities.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the property of another, a seasoned premises liability attorney can help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. The Orlow Firm is a law firm with more than 30 years of experience representing victims of personal injuries, including slip-and-falls and other premises-related accidents. We help clients in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan and throughout New York.

Our attorneys offer free consultations for potential premises liability cases after slip-and-fall accidents or other accidents resulting from negligent maintenance. Call (646) 647-3398 or email us.

Experienced Attorneys for Many Premises Liability Claims

Property owners and residents can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property under a legal theory called premises liability. Injuries on these properties can result from accidents such as:

Premises liability claims can result from many other types of accidents and injuries. If you were attacked while at your rental property, you may be entitled to recover for negligently maintained locks, faulty fire exits and other failed maintenance. Our attorneys have experience representing victims of rapes and assaults resulting from failed maintenance or security.

Holding Negligent Property Owners Accountable

We are dedicated to representing victims and families in premises liability claims against negligent commercial property owners, homeowners and other parties responsible for property maintenance. Among our success stories:

  • A $2.875 million settlement for a 56-year-old man who fell 16 feet into an open elevator shaft at his apartment building. He suffered a fractured vertebra in his back as well as broken bones in his heels.
  • A $500,000 recovery for a 28-year-old nurse who injured her knee at work when she slipped on water from a leak the hospital had failed to repair.

Serious Injuries in New York City From Workplace Premises Liability Accidents

Premises liability requires property owners and managers to keep buildings and other property safe and provide warning of potential hazards. When accidents happen because property was unsafe and warnings were not given, serious injuries can result. Our lawyers can help injured workers with claims after many types of workplace accidents, including:

  • Cleaning hazards. Maintenance companies that wash floors and clean offices may create dangerous situations for workers in the building. Slip-and-fall accidents can result in serious head injuries, spinal cord injuries and broken bones.
  • Elevator accidents. Elevator accidents can happen when machinery is defective or when elevators are not maintained or inspected properly.
  • Equipment hazards. Cleaning and construction equipment can create hazards if they are not safely stored and used.
  • Poorly maintained buildings. Buildings that are not kept up may develop safety issues such as broken stairs, uneven sidewalks, inadequate fire protection and other serious dangers.

Workers who are injured due to one of these hazards may have a premises liability claim. Although employers often cannot be sued directly, workers may be able to file third-party claims against other negligent parties, including cleaning companies, property owners, construction firms, elevator maintenance companies and others. Successful third-party claims may result in more compensation than workers’ compensation alone.

Lawyers Who Understand Third-Party Claims

Under workers’ compensation laws, construction workers can receive benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses when they are injured in a work-related accident. Unfortunately, these benefits may not cover the total cost of injuries. In some situations, workers can obtain additional compensation from property owners who cause or contribute to an accident.

Claims of property owner liability can be complex and hard to identify. Often, an injured worker may not realize that a property owner or other third party can be held accountable. At The Orlow Firm, our lawyers understand the circumstances in which third-party claims arise against property owners, and we have the experience and dedication that our clients need. We serve injured victims throughout New York City.

About Property Owner Liability

Property owners have a duty to make sure their land and buildings are safe for construction workers. New York’s construction safety laws provide strong protections for workers. When property owners fail to provide a safe environment for construction workers, they may be held liable in a third-party claim just like contractors and subcontractors.

Property owners may be liable for accidents caused by:

The law regarding third-party claims provides significant protections for workers, but it is complex. Property owner liability will depend on the law and the circumstances of the case.

The Orlow Firm has more than 30 years of experience helping injured people recover the compensation they need after accidents. We understand New York’s labor laws and how they can benefit injured workers.

Is there a time limit for Premises Liability cases?

Typically, the statute of limitations for premises liability cases in New York is three years. This means that an individual injured in a slip and fall accident has up to three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, if the accident occurred on a property owned by the City of New York, the statute of limitations is shorter.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact New York City personal injury attorney Adam M. Orlow at (646) 647-3398 for a free consultation.

Is there anything a landowner is not responsible for in a Premises Liability Case in NYC?

Sometimes accidents just happen. If there is no notice given of a problem the landowner will not be responsible. If the owner didn’t want to spend the money to fix a problem they will be held responsible. If you have a premises liability case in NYC, contact The Orlow Firm today for a free consultation.

What are the determining factors of a Premises Liability Case?

When building a NYC premises liability case, the attorneys at The Orlow Firm first look for the cause of the accident and whether or not it is a reasonably safe condition. They then determine whether the landlord did know about the condition, and if not, whether he or she should have known about it considering the amount of time the condition was present. If it can be proven that they landlord did know or should have known about the unsafe condition, then it may be possible to build a premises liability case.

If you have been injured and believe you may have a premises liability case, contact New York personal injury attorney Adam M. Orlow at (646) 647-3398 for a free consultation today.

What types of Premises Liability Cases have you handled?

In this video, New York City personal injury attorney Brian S. Orlow describes some of the premises liability cases he has defended. If you have been injured and believe you may have a premises liability case, contact The Orlow Firm today for a free consultation.

New York Premises Liability: Questions and Answers

The blanket legal term “premises liability” encompasses a wide range of personal injuries occurring on property belonging to another person. The property can be owned by a small business, family, giant corporation or municipality, but regardless, each property owner has a duty to keep his land in reasonably safe condition to protect people who might enter it.

What is Premises Liability?

As stated, the term “premises liability” can be used to describe a number of different legal causes of action arising from personal injuries sustained on another’s land.

If you have suffered one of these injuries, you probably have many questions. You need to know if the property owner is liable for your injuries. You need to know who is responsible for paying your medical bills. You want to know if someone will have to pay you for the wages you lost while recovering. There are no real standard answers to any of these questions without consulting a lawyer. Personal injury cases are very fact-specific. When you are injured, you should seek the counsel of an experienced premises liability attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Common Premises Liability Injuries

Below you will find some specific examples and a general explanation of the typical liability attached to them. Keep in mind, however, that the facts of your unique case could be the key factor in deciding who is responsible for your injuries. This is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice.

Q: Who is liable for my sidewalk slip-and-fall injury?

A: It depends. Liability for an injury turns on several factors, including who is responsible for the property, whether the injured person was there legally and how the injury occurred. Sidewalks, while usually installed by government entities, are typically maintained by the home or business owner attached to them. If, for example, a business owner failed to repair a large crack in a sidewalk, it is likely that the owner would be liable for a fall caused by stepping into that crack. If that same injury occurred in front of a private single-family residence, however, the outcome might be different and the City may be primarily responsible.

Q: My child is sick with lead poisoning; do I have a claim against my landlord?

A: Possibly. New York, like the great majority of other jurisdictions, has passed laws requiring the removal, replacement or proper covering of lead-based paint and building materials. If the lead poisoning was the result of a known condition (peeling paint in an apartment hallway) that the landlord reasonably should have seen and taken steps to correct, then the landlord is likely liable for failing to repair the hazard. If, on the other hand, a landlord had no idea there was a child in the apartment (such as a child being born after the parents move in) the landlord could escape responsibility.

Q: I was assaulted in my own building; can I hold management responsible?

A: Unfortunately, criminal attacks are all too common in New York City. It may be possible to recover for an assault occurring in a residential apartment or condominium building if it is reasonably foreseeable that a crime could occur there. Basically, if there is lax security (broken entry locks, unlit hallways, accessible storage rooms not easily viewed) or a crime has occurred there in the past, it might be possible to hold the building’s management or owners responsible.

Q: A railing broke and I fell and got hurt; do I have a claim?

A: If the defective railing is in a place where the building’s owner or manager could have been expected to know it was unsafe, you might be able to seek damages incurred as a result of your injuries. Building owners and landlords are responsible for keeping their property safe for visitors and residents. Defects that are not clearly noticeable are particularly problematic; loose stairs, weakened railings, torn carpets, wobbly floorboards – all of these are potentially hazardous and could be invisible to the casual observer.

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you might be able to file a claim for the damages which come as a result of your injuries. It is important to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area who can give you more information about your legal rights and options.

Premises Liability: An Overview

The term, “premises liability” refers to the legal responsibility of an owner or occupier of property for accidents and injuries occurring on that property. A landowner’s liability for negligence arises from his duty to make the land reasonably safe for persons on it.

Premises Liability Trends

Traditionally, the extent of the landowner’s duty depended on whether the person on the land was an invitee (a person invited onto the land to conduct business with the possessor, such as a shopper in a department store), a licensee (a person who is present for non-business, non-commercial purposes, such as a social guest), or a trespasser (a person who enters upon the land with no right to do so).

The more recent trend is to distinguish only between those who are lawfully or unlawfully on the property. In regard to children, however, even if they are not authorized to be on the property, a landowner has a duty to warn of dangerous conditions if he knows, or should know, that children are likely to be on the premises. He may also be obligated to erect barriers or take similar steps to keep children away from the danger.

New York Law

In New York, the visitor’s status as invitee, licensee, or trespasser does not alone determine the scope of the duty owed in a premises liability case. It is merely one factor to be taken into account in assessing whether a landowner acted reasonably under specific circumstances. An additional element to be considered is comparative fault. A visitor has a duty to exercise reasonable care for her own safety. When she fails to exercise such care, her recovery for damages may be limited or reduced by the extent of her own negligence.

In order to hold a landowner liable for injuries occurring on his land, the visitor must prove injury as well as the cause of the injury. She must show that a dangerous condition existed on the land and that the landowner created or had notice of the condition. She must further demonstrate that the landowner failed to take reasonable steps to fix the dangerous condition or to warn visitors of its existence. A landowner also has a duty, although a limited one, regarding public ways abutting his property, such as sidewalks.

It is not enough, for example, for a plaintiff to state she was injured by falling on a pile of wet leaves on defendant’s property. A pile of leaves, even when wet, are not held as a matter of law to be inherently dangerous. In addition, even if a condition is dangerous, a landowner must be shown to have known about it. Thus, if a property owner repaints a curb outside his store and plaintiff slips on it, she must show that the owner knew or had reason to know that the paint might be slippery when applied to a curb. This reasoning applies to other potentially slippery substances such as wax or polish.

Knowledge Of The Danger

A landowner’s knowledge of a dangerous condition may be actual (he saw it himself or was otherwise made aware of it), or constructive (the condition was visible and apparent and existed for a long enough period of time that the owner should have discovered it). In one case, a plaintiff was injured after slipping and falling on water in the floral department of a grocery store. The owner was held liable after several store employees testified that, as a result of water dripping from bouquets, there was a recurring condition of water on the floor. Further, the owner had actual notice of the condition and constructive notice of each recurrence of the condition.

The “recurring condition” theory does have its limits, however. In another case, plaintiff slipped on a beer bottle left on the stairwell of an apartment building. The building’s superintendent admitted knowing of a recurring dangerous condition caused by debris in the stairwell. But the New York Court of Appeals found no liability on the part of the owner because the plaintiff failed to prove the owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of the beer bottle that had caused her to fall.

Similarly, a general awareness of a building’s stairs becoming wet during inclement weather does not establish an owner’s knowledge of the specific icy conditions causing plaintiff’s injury. The “recurring condition” theory has not been expressly rejected in New York and lower courts continue to decide cases on that mode of reasoning.

Open And Obvious Hazards

Previously, landowners were not held liable for dangerous conditions that are open and obvious to visitors. Recently, however, courts have ruled that, although a hazard may be obvious, the landowner may still be liable for failure to maintain the property in a safe condition. If a dangerous condition exists on neighboring premises, a landowner has no duty to warn or protect others from the danger unless the owner created or contributed to the danger.

Thus, if a tree on abutting property falls on a parked car in the owner’s driveway and causes injury, it is not necessarily foreseeable that the owner would have known where and when the tree would fall, even if he had recently seen it tilting in a severe storm.

Contact An Attorney

Premises liability cases can be tricky to prove. They require careful analysis by a competent attorney as to the facts as well as the owner’s duty and liability. In addition, the attorney should be consulted in a timely manner in order to protect and preserve evidence in the case and ensure that claims are field within the statute of limitations.

Premises Liability: Can You Prove It?

If you are hurt by an accident on someone else’s property, can you hold the land owner legally and financially responsible for your injuries? The question concerns an area of law called premises liability . The answer depends on whether you can meet these requirements:

  • You were lawfully on the property.
  • Your accident was caused by an unsafe condition.
  • The land owner was negligent in that he knew or should have known of the unsafe condition but failed to correct it or warn of it.
  • The land owner’s negligence resulted in your injury.

The Land Owner’s Responsibility

Property owners owe a reasonable duty of care to those who are invited or otherwise allowed to be on the premises. A land owner must maintain the property to avoid the risk of injury to those who use it. If the owner is aware of a dangerous condition he must repair it or erect signs, guards or barriers to warn of it. The fact that an accident occurs does not, in and of itself, mean that the property owner is liable for negligence. You must be able to show that the land owner knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed.

There are two ways you can prove a land owner’s knowledge. Actual notice means that the land owner was told about the problem. Constructive notice means that the hazard was visible and apparent and existed long enough for the property owner to observe it and repair it. For example, if you hurt yourself by slipping and falling on a beer bottle in a stairwell, the land owner is not liable for your injury unless you can show that he knew that particular bottle was there. On the other hand, if the land owner knew that beer bottles tend to accumulate on the stairwell during weekends, he might be held liable for accidents and injuries that result.

Hazardous Conditions

Unsafe conditions on property occur in an endless variety of ways. The can injure repairmen as well as guests, tenants and shoppers at commercial establishments. A leaking ceiling may create slippery floor conditions and a risk of falling. A glass partition may be inadequately marked and dangerous to those who fail to see it while walking. Crumbling brick work and masonry on a building’s exterior may fall and injure workers and pedestrians below. Stairways can be especially risky due to

  • Broken or missing hand rails.
  • Steps that are too high or too steep.
  • Unevenness in step height or depth.
  • Worn or torn carpeting on stairs.
  • Slippery or icy conditions due to spills or weather.
  • Construction or maintenance defects that violate local building codes.

The Firefighter’s Rule

At times, firefighters, police officers or other emergency services personnel are injured due to unsafe conditions on property. In the past, they were unable to seek damages for their injuries under ordinary negligence rules. This is because, under the so-called ‘firefighter’s defense’ these workers were held to be specially trained to confront risks and dangers on behalf of the public. In addition, they were provided with job benefits and compensation in the form of sick leave and line-of-duty injury status.

Since the late 1990s, however, the law has changed. Generally, there is no longer any firefighter’s defense in lawsuits against private property owners. The rule may still apply in actions against municipalities and their agencies.

Ask A Competent Attorney

Injuries due to unsafe, defective or poorly maintained property conditions are unfortunate daily occurrences. It is not always easy to prove that a land owner is negligent and therefore liable for an injury. The attorneys at the Orlow firm are experienced and knowledgeable in this area of the law. They offer free initial consultations and operate four offices across New York City for your convenience. They can go to you if you cannot come to them. To contact the Orlow firm, call (646) 647-3398.

Contact The Orlow Firm

If you have suffered an injury on the premises of another, we would be happy to provide you with an assessment of your injuries and an explanation of the extent of damages you may be entitled to recover.

Contact us online or call (646) 647-3398 to schedule a confidential and honest assessment of your case.