Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injuries in New York. From falls in icy parking lots to wet floors in supermarkets, slip and falls can happen anywhere, at any time. If you get injured in a slip and fall accident, you will need to learn some of New York’s related laws before you can seek financial compensation. Contact a slip and fall accident lawyer in Buffalo for assistance navigating these laws.
Premises Liability Basics
You may be entitled to financial compensation from one or more parties for a slip and fall accident if you have all of the required elements for a premises liability lawsuit. In general, a person or party must have acted in a way that a reasonable and prudent party would not have in the same circumstances, resulting in the slip and fall injury. In personal injury law, this is known as negligence.
Proving negligence in a slip and fall case requires proof of the following elements:
- A duty of care is owed to the victim. Whether the victim was an invitee, licensee or trespasser, the property owner had an obligation to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.
- A breach of duty occurred. The property owner failed to remove slip and fall hazards from the property or otherwise failed to prevent foreseeable injuries.
- Causation for the injury exists. The property owner’s failure to uphold the duty of care was the primary cause of the slip and fall accident and related injury.
You or your lawyer will need to prove that these elements are more likely to be true than not true using clear and convincing evidence. This is known as a preponderance of the evidence, and it is the burden of proof in a civil case. A lawyer can help you gather enough evidence to support your slip and fall accident claim in New York.
Statute of Limitations (Deadline for Filing)
One of the most important laws to know as a claimant in New York is the state’s statute of limitations. This is a deadline that applies to most premises liability lawsuits. If you miss the statute of limitations, you will most likely lose the right to file, as the courts only make rare exceptions.
In New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of your slip and fall accident or the date that you discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) your injury. You will only have 90 days to bring a claim against the government in New York, however, for an accident that takes place on public property.
Comparative Negligence Law in New York
Once you file a slip and fall accident to claim, the property owner’s insurance company may try to reduce your payout on the basis that you caused or contributed to the accident. If this argument is successful, you could lose a significant portion of your monetary recovery. This is because New York uses a pure comparative negligence law, which reduces a plaintiff’s award by his or her percentage of fault for the accident. If you are found to be 25 percent responsible for your slip and fall, for example, you would only receive the other 75 percent of an award from the defendant.
Damage Caps in New York
Some states have damage caps or limits on the amount that an injured accident victim can collect in financial compensation from a defendant for a certain type of claim or loss. Currently, however, New York does not have any such restrictions. There are no damage caps on slip and fall accident cases in New York, including non-economic and punitive damages. This means that your lawyer can fight for maximum financial compensation without worrying about a statutory limit.