Personal injury lawsuits, in particular slip and fall cases, are very different than how they are perceived by the public. For instance, one common misconception widely held is that an injury on another’s property provides an individual grounds to sue the property owner. While in some cases the injured individual may indeed have a lawsuit, often they are mistaken as the circumstances surrounding their injury does not possess all of the elements of a personal injury lawsuit. Our New York slip-and-fall lawyers have decided to take the time today to enlighten our readers as to what qualifications must be met to have a valid premises liability case:
A Breach of Duty: The first element of slip and fall cases as well as every other personal injury case is the presence of negligence. In order to have a valid case after slipping and falling, the injured individual must be able to show that the property owner breached a duty of care that they had to the victim. A breach of duty would constitute negligence on the property owner’s behalf. For instance, if the property owner failed to maintain the banister on a stairway and left it loose, it might constitute negligence.
Causation: The victim of the fall must be able to show that the property owner’s negligence directly led to their injury. In other words, negligence is not in and of itself grounds to file a lawsuit. A property owner could act negligently but not be held liable if their negligence was not the proximate cause of the victim’s injury. For instance, if the victim is intoxicated and fell down a flight of stairs with a broken railing, they might not have grounds for a claim if the defense could show that the broken railing was not the direct cause of their fall.
It should also be noted that unlike typical personal injury suits, in slip and fall and premises liability cases, the property owner must have had knowledge that the hazardous area existed. For instance, if the railing broke the same night as the victim’s injury, the property owner might not be liable as they wouldn’t have had known of the hazardous area. That said, if the hazardous area existed for a lengthy period of time, a court may rule that the property owner should have reasonably had knowledge of the issue.
Damages: In order to have a valid lawsuit for a slip and fall injury, the victim must have suffered economic damages. Typically an injured fall victim can collect damages for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and damage to future earning potential.
Another common misconception in amongst the general public is that an injured victim can receive compensation for emotional distress. In New York, compensation for emotional distress is only available to individuals who witnessed another family member die.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident that meets the aforementioned requirements, you may be entitled to compensation.