You might venture onto someone else’s property in New York for several reasons. Perhaps you enter a commercial property to transact business or the home of a friend or family member to socialize. You might go onto a property without the owner’s permission if you have lost a pet or for another purpose. No matter the reason you are present on the property of another person or entity, that property owner owes you specific legal obligations. Historically, the legal duties that were owed depended on the reason you were present on the property. But New York has done away with these distinctions and different duties of care. Please keep reading as our premises liability lawyer explains.
Historical Overview of Legal Duties Based on Status
Proprietors who run a business and invite others onto their property to do business have some of the highest duties under the law. A premises liability lawyer can help protect your rights if they have been violated.
These property owners must make reasonable and regular inspections of their property and attempt to discover risks or hazards, such as spills, cracks in the pavement, missing steps, or broken handrails that could injure customers. When the owner discovers dangers, the business owner must take reasonable steps to correct the issue.
If you ventured onto another’s property at their invitation for a social purpose, such as a barbeque, the owner also had legal obligations to you in the past. The owner did not have to inspect their property and uncover hazards, but they would have had to warn you about any dangers about which they knew or should have known.
Trespassers received almost no duty of care in historical law. The property owner did not have to inspect their property or warn the trespassers of most hazards.
However, the property owner obviously cannot create dangerous conditions on the property, such as by setting a spring-gun trap. Additionally, the property owner had to warn potential trespassers if they kept a dangerous dog and you suffered a dog bite injury. An experienced premises liability lawyer can help you navigate your rights under New York State law.
New York Imposes a Single Duty of Care on All Property Owners
The 1976 case of Basso v. Miller from the Court of Appeals of the State of New York did away with duties based on the reason you were present on the owner’s property. The court adopted a single legal responsibility for all property owners, requiring them to take reasonable measures to ensure their property is safe for others.
What is reasonable in a given case would depend on various factors. Some of the circumstances a court would look at in deciding whether an injured party can receive compensation include the following:
- The reason the injured party was present on the property
- How prominent the hazard was, or should have been to the owner
- Any remedial action the owner took before the accident
- How great or small of an opportunity the owner had to warn the injured party
This single legal duty makes it important to thoroughly document and investigate your injury with the help of a premises liability lawyer if you are hurt on another person’s property.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a New York Premises Liability Lawyer
The dedicated New York premises liability lawyers at The Matera Law Firm are available to consult you if you have suffered a slip and fall injury or any other injury while on another’s property.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation and learn about our experience and dedication to our clients.