Staten Island Slip and Fall Attorney
Staten Island has many hazards — motorists, pedestrians, and unleashed dogs. Some of the most dangerous hazards, however, are underfoot. Slipping and falling is not rare occurrence on Staten Island. Each year, thousands of people fall on the sidewalk, in parking lots, or in buildings owned by private companies or the government itself.
If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Staten Island, contact The O’Connor Law Firm today. Our slip-and-fall attorney will gladly review the circumstances surrounding your fall and identify whether you can sue for compensation. Contact us today.
Why People Slip and Fall
Any number of hazards can cause a person to lose their balance. For example, many of our clients were injured when they slipped on:
- Wet leaves
- Spilled liquids
- Freshly mopped floors
- Waxed floors
- Debris or litter
- Worn carpeting
- Stairs without handrails or banisters
Other hazards cause a person to trip and fall to the ground. Common trip hazards include:
- Power cords crossing the floor
- Torn carpets
- Uneven floorboards
- Potholes or cracked pavement
- Tree roots
- Poor lighting
Who Is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall?
We need to identify the person who owns or is in control of the property. This might be easy in the case of an owner who lives on the property. In other cases — as with commercial real estate — any number of people could be responsible.
Responsible parties include:
- Private homeowners
- Property management companies
- Condo or co-op boards
- New York City government
- New York state government
If you were hurt, you probably don’t know — or even care — who has control of the property. That is a reason to quickly contact a Staten Island slip-and-fall attorney quickly to begin your legal case.
What If I Was Partially At Fault For My Slip and Fall Accident?
New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that you are entitled to recover damages for your injuries, but only to the extent that your injuries were caused by someone else.
For example, if you slipped and fell in a supermarket, but there was evidence that you were looking at your smartphone and not paying attention to a puddle next to a freezer, a jury may find that you were partially at fault for the accident even though the supermarket was also negligent. So, if the jury determines your case is worth $100,000, and you are found 50% at fault, you would be entitled to recover 50% of the verdict, or $50,000. This is the percentage of fault attributable to the defendant.
Even if you are 90% or more at fault in New York, you would still be entitled to recover the remaining 10% of the verdict. In some states, you may not recover anything if you are even just 1% at fault for an accident.
Proving a Slip-and-Fall Case
If you are the injury victim in a slip-and-fall case, the burden is on you to prove that the property owner or occupier was somehow at fault. This includes proving that there was a dangerous condition on the property, that the owner knew or should have known about it, and that the owner did not fix, repair, or warn about it.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care
New York’s slip-and-fall laws are based on negligence. Basically, this is the duty to use reasonable care, and it extends to keeping property reasonably safe for those who visit.
Our state hasn’t created hard-and-fast rules regarding what a property owner or occupier must do to meet their duty of care. However, there are relevant factors in play in each case. The most important factor is whether the owner had actual knowledge of the hazard that caused a person to slip or trip. If a store owner walked across a slippery sidewalk to get to work, they know that ice or snow accumulations are a hazard.
Sometimes, owners have constructive notice. Essentially, this means the dangerous condition has existed for so long or is so obvious that a careful property owner would have discovered it. For example, an air conditioner could steadily leak condensation on the floor of a store. A careful owner would make regular rounds to inspect the aisles and should discover it. Constructive notice prevents property owners from remaining willfully ignorant and avoiding liability.
Other relevant factors include how long the defendant knew of the hazard and the difficulty of warning visitors of it. For instance, snow and ice can accumulate in the middle of a blizzard, but even careful owners cannot clear a parking lot during a storm. Instead, they should get a reasonable amount of time to address the problem.
What to Do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident in Staten Island
Our law firm recommends the following steps to solidify your right to compensation:
- Get a picture of the hazard that caused you to slip or trip. This is probably the most critical piece of evidence. We never put it beyond some property owners to quickly fix a hazard after a fall and then claim it never existed in the first place. Taking a picture soon after your fall helps. Use your smartphone or ask someone else to take a picture.
- Identify witnesses. Anyone who saw you fall or saw the hazard would make a great witness. We’ll need a witness’ name and contact information to follow up.
- Notify the property owner of your fall. If this happens in the middle of a crowded grocery store, then the store probably doesn’t need to be notified. Otherwise, call the property owner so they know you were injured.
- Go to the hospital. Prompt medical care is vital for recovery. Medical records also will help establish the seriousness of our client’s injuries and can speed up the claims process.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Some slip or trip and fall accidents may result in minor injuries, while other accidents can cause serious injuries. We have handled many serious injury cases caused by slip and fall accidents, including:
- Broken bones and torn ligaments
- Head injuries, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Shoulder and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries can result in an extended period of rehabilitation, lost time from work, and pain and suffering. An experienced slip and fall accident attorney can help you recover the damages you are entitled to, including lost wages, medical and hospital expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
I Was Hurt on a Friend’s Property. Can I Really Sue Them for Damages?
When you file a slip and fall lawsuit, you are not suing the property owner – you are filing a claim against their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Their insurance company will pay for a lawyer and will pay out any damages in a settlement or for a jury verdict. Your friend has insurance for this very reason: to protect them from liability.
We understand that these situations can be tricky for injury victims. We will work with you to help you understand how the process works, and what you can do to get the money that you deserve for your injuries. Contact The O’Connor Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Staten Island slip and fall lawyer.
Why You Should Contact a Staten Island Slip-and-Fall Attorney Immediately
The amount of time a person has to sue is limited by law. The last thing we want is for injured victims to forfeit their right to bring a lawsuit because they didn’t seek legal counsel in time. With the right attorney, you can begin the claims process and protect your rights.
In many cases, a victim has at least 3 years to bring a lawsuit following the accident. But this amount of time passes quickly, especially if you are busy rehabbing a serious injury. You must also file a lawsuit in the correct court, which might be difficult to identify.
If you were injured on public property, you have less time. To sue the City of New York, for example, you must provide a notice of claim to the correct department within 90 days of the accident. Any delay could result in a forfeited legal claim.
Why Local Experience Matters
At The O’Connor Law Firm, we have worked with long-time Staten Island residents but also with visitors who were injured while visiting family from out of state. If you live in one of the other 49 states, you may think it is better to hire someone back home to represent you. This is probably a mistake.
A local attorney understands the process for bringing lawsuits to Staten Island. We also have negotiated settlements with businesses and landlords in all five boroughs. Only a lawyer admitted to the bar can file a lawsuit in New York court, so you will likely need a Staten Island slip-and-fall attorney eventually.
The experience a local attorney provides is incalculable. Unfortunately, your attorney in upstate New York or in Florida might be a great lawyer and a powerful advocate for your interests. But their distance impedes their ability to represent you to the fullest.
Contact a Staten Island Slip-and-Fall Attorney Today
The O’Connor Law Firm cares for the whole client. We understand the financial, physical, and emotional stress a slip-and-fall accident causes the entire family. When you hire us, you get more than a passionate legal advocate. You are getting a seasoned attorney committed to having our clients thrive. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.