Premises liability in New York City is not limited to slip and falls on someone else’s property. Injuries caused by an unsafe condition attributed to the property owner’s negligence may constitute grounds for a civil lawsuit.
For example, a worker who is injured while performing a task may file for ceiling collapses resulting from landlord negligence. The property owner may be liable if a guest is overcome by fumes and hospitalized after the property owner fumigated the premises for insects. A person is invited on to a property, even for a short time, and is injured by cut glass or a rusty nail.
To sue for premises liability, injured plaintiffs have to prove several elements. First, that they were lawfully on the property to perform work or were guests. Next, the property owner acted negligently in addressing an unsafe condition. In other words, the owner knew or should have known about that dangerous condition on the property and that the owner failed to repair the condition, cordon it off or warn others. If the condition was repaired, the property owner may also be negligent if the repair did not cure the unsafe condition or made it worst. Finally, the unsafe condition caused the injury.
Property owners also owe a duty of care to trespassers who are injured under certain conditions. When a property owner knew that a trespasser was on the property and did not object, the trespasser may be in the same position as an invited guest and the property owner may be liable for injuries.
The attractive nuisance doctrine also applies to unknown trespassers who are children. This occurs when the property has a condition that would be attractive to condition that attracts children and causes injuries. An unfenced pool or fountain, certain machinery, pets and rooftops are examples of an attractive nuisance.
Persons who are injured by an unsafe condition on another person’s property may have the right to compensation. Property owners have to receive notification of the injury as soon as possible. Legal assistance should be sought promptly to assure that there is representation in settlement negotiations, discussions with insurance carriers and in any legal proceedings. Time periods govern the time a premises liability suit may be filed.
Source: New York City Bar Association, “Premises liability,” Retrieved Dec. 2, 2014.