Brooklyn Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slips happen when we least expect and are oftentimes entirely preventable. Unfortunately, some suffer great injuries as a result of a slip and fall. Slip-and-fall accidents are very serious, and accident victims need an attorney in their corner who is focused on obtaining compensation to cover all the costs associated with a bodily injury.
New York’s premises liability law allows accident victims to receive compensation when a property owner has been negligent. The Brooklyn slip-and-fall accident attorney at The O’Connor Law Firm can meet with you and talk you through the next steps of your claim. Contact our firm today to learn more.
Negligent Property Owners & Dangerous Hazards
Most people slip or trip on some hazard on the property, which could be easily fixed or — at a minimum — warned about. Some common hazards which can upend a person include:
- Potholes or cracked pavement on sidewalks and in parking lots
- Broken tiles or worn carpets in stores
- Spilled liquids or other condensation which is not mopped up
- Debris or trash on the floor
- Cables and extension cords crossing the floor
- Missing handrails or banisters
- Defective steps or staircases
- Lack of lighting
- Snow or ice
Some hazards are naturally occurring. Others, however, are created by a property owner or allowed to steadily degenerate until the premises are dangerous to any visitor.
Identifying if You Have a Valid Claim
The simple fact that you fell and hurt yourself does not establish the property owner’s liability. Instead, we need to carefully review whether the owner was negligent in how he or she maintained the premises. This requires examining several facts.
Did the Property Owner Know about the Dangerous Condition?
In some cases, the owner created the hazard, such as when they put extension cords across a doorway. But most hazards are created by nature or are the result of poor maintenance. For example, carpets become slowly worn over time and at some point become so slick that people can slip and fall.
A key question is knowledge. A property owner should fix or warn about hazards they know about or should know about. In other words, they must have actual or constructive knowledge:
- Actual knowledge: the owner sees the hazard or is told about it by someone.
- Constructive knowledge: the owner doesn’t know about the hazard, but they should know about it, usually because the hazard has existed so long that a careful owner would have discovered it.
Constructive knowledge prevents a property owner from putting their head in the sand and letting the premises slowly degenerate. Instead, they must regularly inspect the premises to uncover dangers.
Did the Property Owner Try to Address the Hazard?
A hazard might exist, but we need to consider whether the owner was reasonable in their efforts to make it safer. If ice forms on a sidewalk, an owner must do more than throw a handful of ice melt and hope it works. Similarly, they must mop up spilled liquids in a reasonable amount of time, not wait for it to evaporate.
Property owners also need a chance to fix a hazard they know of. A blizzard might dump a foot of snow on a parking lot, but the owner can’t be expected to stay up all night constantly shoveling their walkways. Instead, they need a reasonable amount of time once the storm ends to address any snow or ice.
Common Defenses to Brooklyn Slip-and-Fall Claims
Slip-and-fall claims can cost negligent property owners and their insurance companies quite a bit of money. In order to reduce their liability and financial exposure, the insurers vigorously defend these cases. We have seen some common defenses raised over the years:
- The defect is too minor. For example, a few drops of liquid on the floor should not be enough to cause someone to slip and tumble end over end.
- The hazard is open and obvious. Some dangerous conditions are so obvious that reasonable people should avoid them. If a giant pothole opens in the middle of a parking lot, a property owner doesn’t need to warn you of it — you can see it yourself, and you should step around.
- The victim was negligent. New York allows defendants to raise contributory negligence as a defense. You might have been walking while scrolling through text messages, paying no attention to where you stepped. If so, you may be partially at fault for slipping or tripping, and a defendant can use that fact to reduce their liability and lower the amount of compensation they pay.
An experienced attorney can counter these and other arguments. However, the sooner you meet with an attorney, the more of an opportunity they will have to strengthen your claim.
Valuing a Slip-and-Fall Claim
Our clients should receive fair compensation to cover all financial losses caused by the accident. Let’s look at a few:
- Medical bills. If the defendant was negligent, they should pay for your medical care, including the cost of surgery, rehab, prescription drugs, and regular doctor’s appointments. In short, any medical care you need to treat your injuries should be covered.
- Lost income or wages. Some slip-and-fall injuries keep our clients out of work for a long time. As they recover, they cannot earn income to pay their bills and put food on the table. A negligent property owner should pay compensation to replace lost income.
- Property damage. You might have shattered your glasses or cell phone in the fall. The defendant should pay to replace these items.
Some losses are not financial in nature, but they still reduce a person’s quality of life. These non-financial losses can include:
- Pain and suffering. Serious injuries cause intense pain and distress, particularly when people are unable to move around like they used to.
- Emotional distress or mental anguish. Emotional injuries are every bit as serious as physical ones. We can request compensation to cover depression, anxiety, irritability, and post-traumatic stress.
Each Brooklyn slip and fall is unique, and we can review your case to help determine a fair amount of compensation appropriate to your case.
Slip-and-Fall Accidents Lead to Serious Injuries
Many of our clients are so hurt when they fall they can’t get up off the floor. Indeed, some need an ambulance to come and whisk them away to the hospital for tests and treatment.
Our Brooklyn slip-and-fall attorney has helped people struggling with some serious injuries, including:
- Soft tissue injury
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Many of these injuries immediately immobilize a victim. For example, muscle strains in a person’s back can keep them from sitting up properly for weeks as the soft tissue slowly begins to heal.
Depending on the injury, some victims will need surgery or months of rehabilitation. All this medical care is very expensive — and grows only more expensive with each passing year. If lucky, our clients can reach maximum improvement after months of medical care, but some will still struggle with permanent injuries.
Contact Our Firm to Learn More
The O’Connor Law Firm is here for anyone who was hurt in a Brooklyn slip-and-fall accident. We have experience suing businesses, property management companies, landlords, government agencies, and private property owners. Let us investigate your claim and gather the evidence needed to secure compensation. Call us today to schedule a consultation.