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Queens Slip and Fall Attorney
Property owners in Queens are legally obligated to ensure visitors to their premises are kept reasonably safe. Private property owners, managers and staff of commercial properties are all expected to ensure the premises are clear of safety risks and to make sure existing dangers are marked in such a way that individuals are warned of any hazard. When property owners do not repair or replace dangerous conditions, and they do not warn visitors of the hazard, they can be held liable if someone becomes injured on their premises.
If you or someone you love has been hurt due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, speak with an experienced Queens slip and fall attorney from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. today. Our lawyers can help you claim medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more while you focus on your recovery.
Proving a Slip and Fall Claim
After a slip and fall accident, it may be quite clear that you were injured as a result of a property owner’s negligence or carelessness. However, you must still prove this fact to recover any damages. When working with a Queens slip and fall attorney, they will prove that:
- You were legally allowed on the property and you were not trespassing
- A dangerous condition on the property caused your fall
- The fall resulted in injury
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and did nothing to mitigate the danger to visitors in a timely manner
- The risk that existed was not so obvious that a reasonable person would have taken certain steps to protect themselves.
When you are recovering from serious injuries, it is very difficult to prove these elements of your claim on your own. A lawyer will know how to prove your claim so you obtain the full amount of compensation you need to aid with your recovery.
What is ‘Reasonable’ in a Slip and Fall Claim?
Many slip and fall claims rest on whether or not the property owner had a reasonable amount of time to fix the dangerous condition. Accident victims are also expected to act reasonably to keep themselves and others safe. Sometimes, proving that something was or was not reasonable is very difficult.
For example, property owners are not expected to fix dangerous conditions right away at all times. A spill may occur on the floor of a grocery store and the property owner and staff members are not aware of it right away. Over time, however, customers may alert staff members to the spill and property owners and workers are expected to come across the spill in a reasonable amount of time.
So, if a spill had only been present for a few minutes, that is likely not a reasonable amount of time for the owner or employees to know about the spill and clean it up. If the spill was present for an hour or more, on the other hand, the property owner and workers should have reasonably known about the spill and fixed the unsafe condition.
Accident victims are also expected to act reasonably. For example, if a person wore summer sandals in an icy parking lot and fell, the property owner may argue that the individual did not act reasonably. It is well known that Queens can experience some harsh winters and that conditions can become slippery very quickly. If someone ventures out not wearing the proper footwear, that may be considered an unreasonable decision.
Contributory Negligence in a Slip and Fall Accident
It is important that everyone acts reasonably to keep themselves safe. This is because under New York’s contributory negligence law, accident victims may receive less compensation when they are found partly at fault for the accident.
When an insurance company or jury is making a decision on a claim or lawsuit, they must first determine if the defendant, the property owner, was at fault and caused the accident victim’s injuries. They must then also determine if the accident victim was also partly at fault for their injuries. If the accident victim was partly to blame for their injuries, they are not barred from recovering damages, but the amount of compensation they receive will be reduced. The insurer or jury will also assign the accident victim a percentage of blame if they contributed to the accident and reduce their damages by that same amount.
For example, a property owner may not have had the parking lot of their business plowed after a snowstorm, which allows an icy condition to remain on the premises. A customer may slip and fall in the parking lot while wearing inappropriate footwear. A jury may find the property owner was 70 percent at fault for an accident while the injured individual is found to be 30 percent at fault. The accident victim can still claim damages, but their compensation will be reduced by 30 percent. New York follows a pure contributory negligence model, meaning accident victims can claim compensation even if they are found 99 percent at fault for their injuries.
Insurance companies will often try to shift blame to the accident victim in order to shield themselves from liability. Insurance companies are notorious for prioritizing their profits over the health of accident victims. They will try to claim someone was at fault for their own accident so they do not have to pay as much in damages. An attorney will refute these claims and defend accident victims so they can recover the full damages they deserve.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, you may deserve compensation that can help you recover from your injuries. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., our Queens slip and fall attorneys are dedicated to helping accident victims claim the full amount of compensation they deserve and we want to help you, too. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.