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Slip-and-fall injury liability in New York

Falling down the stairs or on an icy sidewalk can cause a disabling long-term injury. When this type of accident occurs in a home, restaurant or retail location, the property owner may have legal liability for the injured person’s medical bills and related costs.

Review the factors that determine responsibility for a slip-and-fall injury in New York.

Proving fault

With this type of personal injury lawsuit, the court will review whether the defendant failed to meet a duty to provide reasonably safe conditions. This could occur if:

  • A landlord fails to repair a broken step or provide adequate lighting.
  • The fall happens in a shopping center with an icy parking lot.
  • A homeowner invites a neighbor over but does not warn the guest about a hazard in the yard.

These examples illustrate how a property owner could neglect a duty of care.

Understanding comparative negligence

The injured person can receive legal damages even if he or she had some part in the fall, as long as a third party was at least 50% at fault. For example, the injured person may have fault if he or she wore unsafe shoes, ignored caution tape or warnings, fell while distracted, did not notice obviously dangerous conditions or was trespassing when the fall occurred.

With comparative negligence, the court may reduce the plaintiff’s legal damages by his or her amount of fault. Damages may include medical expenses and lost wages as well as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disfigurement.

New York residents have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a slip-and-fall incident.