Premises Liability Lawyer |Suffolk County & Long Island

When someone invites a person onto their property, they are responsible for that person’s safety to a degree. They may not be able to govern that person’s behavior and keep them from harming themselves or others, but they can create a safe environment that does not have any harmful hazards. If the person who owns or is in charge of the property fails to uphold that standard and someone gets injured as a result, then they can be held liable for the injury of that person. This is the basis of premises liability law, which is a subset of personal injury law.

There are many serious injuries that can occur as a result of a premises liability and the property owner is liable for those injuries. At the Harrison Law Group, we have decades of experience ably representing clients who have been injured because a property owner failed to enforce the property safety standards on their premises. We can help victims of premises liability to get the compensation that they need to take care of their injuries. So contact the Harrison Law Group if you have a premises liability case.

Premises Liability Lawyer Long Island

The Basics Of Premises Liability Law

Since premises liability is a subset of personal injury law, it is governed by the same rules as other personal injury cases. That means negligence was the cause of the accident. The rules of personal injury are as follows:

The victim was owed a duty of care – In this case, it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that their premises are safe and free of hazards that could bring harm to anyone who is lawfully on their property.

The duty of care was breached – With premises liability, that could mean that the property owner was aware of a dangerous condition but did nothing to address it. For example, there could be a spill that creates a slipping hazard that the property owner does not clean up or warn people about.

The breach of duty caused an accident 

The accident caused the victim to suffer losses – Those losses could be financial, such as the medical bills needed to treat the injury. But they could also be emotional, such as the pain and suffering felt by the victim.

The People Who Are Owed a Duty of Care

Each state has different rules about who is eligible for compensation if they get hurt on someone’s property. Some states consider the status of the person who was injured and they divide visitors into the following three categories:

Invitees – As the name suggests, these are people who were invited onto the premises. The invitation could be explicit, such as when a person is holding a party and guests are invited. The invitation could also be implicit, such as with a store and its customers, though in that case, the invitees are only allowed on the premises during business hours.

Licensees – This is someone who has the property owner’s implied permission to enter the property, but is doing so for their own purpose. This generally refers to salesmen and the like.

Trespassers – This is a person who is not allowed or authorized to be on the property. 

In states that divide visitors into these three categories, trespassers are not owed a duty of care by the property owner. That means, unlike invitees and licensees, they cannot sue if they get injured because of a dangerous condition on the premises. In some cases, if the property owner suspects that their premises might be susceptible to trespassers, then they should post warnings of any non-obvious dangers that might be on the property.

The exception to the rule regarding a lack of duty of care to trespassers involves children. If there is an attractive nuisance on the property, like a swimming pool for example, then the attractive nuisance doctrine states that the property owner is liable for any injuries caused by the object of attraction even if the child is trespassing on their property. 

Types of Premises Liability Cases

There are many different types of cases that fall under the umbrella of premises liability law. They include the following:

  • Slip and fall accidents 
  • Inadequate or poor building security that leads to an accident
  • Dog bites
  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Toxic substances
  • Elevator or escalator accidents
  • Poor property maintenance
  • Fires

You can see that premises liability covers a wide variety of cases, and yes, that includes dog bites, since a dangerous, unsecured dog on the property constitutes a dangerous condition. The same goes for toxic substances that might make a person sick later on. As long as it can be proven that the person got sick because of those toxic substances they have a valid premises liability case.

The Consequences of Premises Liability

Just as there is a wide variety of premises liability cases, there is a wide variety of injuries that can be caused by them. Any hazard that causes the victim to slip and fall down can cause fractures or broken bones as well as head trauma that can lead to a concussion or even a skull fracture. Cuts and bruises are also possible depending on the nature of the surface. Swimming pools can lead to drowning incidents, which can be life-threatening if the victim does not quickly get assistance. If the drowning victim goes without oxygen for too long, then that could cause brain damage. 

The inhalation of toxic substances could cause all manner of problems, from respiratory diseases all the way up to mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer. A fire could result in burns of various degrees; third-degree burns and higher could result in serious injury that requires surgical intervention. An attack from a dog could result in deep bite marks that could cause significant blood loss. Plus any bacteria in the dog’s mouth could lead to nasty infections, and there is, of course, the emotional trauma of getting attacked by the dog. Premises liability can result in a wide variety of very serious injuries, which is why we do not take those kinds of cases lightly.

The Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Lawsuits in New York

Every state has its own laws pertaining to personal injury lawsuits. Premises liability lawsuits are one type of personal injury lawsuit. One of the rules regarding premises liability lawsuits involved how long a plaintiff has to file the claim in court. Limitations on how long plaintiffs have to file a claim are called statutes of limitations, and each state has its statutes of limitations for different types of claims.

In the state of New York, the statute of limitations for a premises liability claim is three years from the date that the plaintiff became injured. For example, if the plaintiff slipped and fell in a grocery store on January 1st, 2020, the plaintiff would have until January 1st, 2023, to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some instances, the plaintiff may have longer to file a premises liability lawsuit. The court may toll, or delay, the statute of limitations in limited circumstances. An experienced New York premises liability attorney can advise an injury victim on how the statute of limitations will apply in their case.

New York’s Comparative Negligence Laws

New York uses the legal theory of comparative negligence when deciding whether a plaintiff is entitled to damages in a premises liability lawsuit. The comparative negligence law means that the plaintiff may absorb some measure of fault for their damages if the jury finds that the plaintiff is partially responsible for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries. New York is one of only 13 states that use a pure comparative negligence fault rule. As a result, the plaintiff can still recover damages even if he was 99% at fault for the accident. If awarded compensation, he would be entitled to 1% of the total damages. 

Suppose a grocery store failed to mop up an oil spill, and the plaintiff tripped and fell, causing serious injuries. The defense may try to argue that the plaintiff was intoxicated, contributing to the accident. In that case, the plaintiff would absorb some of the fault for the accident, and their damages would be reduced. For example, if the court found that the plaintiff was 40% at fault for the accident, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault does not exceed the defendant’s. In that case, the plaintiff can still recover compensation. 

However, the plaintiff will lose 40% of the damages due to their own fault. Suppose the plaintiff received $100,000 in damages. In that case, the plaintiff would only be able to take home $60,000. $40,000 would be subtracted from the total to account for the defendant’s damages.

Damages and Compensation in Premises Liability Lawsuits

Facing a serious injury can be costly, stressful, and time-consuming. The medical expenses for spinal cord injury, for example, can easily exceed millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime. Many people who suffered serious injuries are not able to return to work, making it even more challenging for them to pay their bills. In premises liability lawsuits, as with other types of personal injury cases, a court can award two main types of damages. These types of damages include compensatory and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for the economic and non-economic damages he or she has endured due to the personal injury accident. In cases involving accidents that are caused by a dangerous condition on a property, the most common types of damages are compensatory. Compensatory damages can be broken into two further categories, specific and general damages. 

General and specific damages are intended to compensate and reimburse the victim for the financial burdens directly caused by injuries sustained from the premises liability accident. The plaintiff’s attorney will attempt to recover compensation for several different types of expenses.

Medical Expenses

Medical costs have soared in the last decade. Even with high-quality Insurance, the deductibles, co-pays, fees, and procedures that insurance does not cover can easily drain a person’s bank account. Injured or ill plaintiffs can struggle to make ends meet, losing their financial stability because of their injuries. Medical expenses frequently make up the most significant portion of compensatory damages sought by a plaintiff, including:

  •  Doctor’s fees
  •  Hospital stays
  •  Operations
  •  Medications
  •  Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  •  Medical aids such as wheelchairs

Lost Wages and Loss of Potential Income

A plaintiff can also pursue compensation for wages that have already been lost because of his or her injury. Being seriously injured frequently requires recovering in the hospital. Some victims have to undergo multiple surgeries, and extended hospital stays. All of the recovery time prevents a plaintiff from being able to work to support himself or herself. Additionally, when a plaintiff becomes permanently injured, it can have long-lasting effects. The plaintiff may not return to work and may suffer a temporary or permanent loss of potential income. This can be devastating for a family, especially if the injured victim was the primary wage earner.

Pain and Suffering

Plaintiffs are entitled to request compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured due to the premises liability accident. Pain and suffering can include a wide range of things, including the actual physical pain of the injury, shock, grief, anxiety, and other forms of anguish related to the injury or the situation. Plaintiffs can also request compensation for loss of consortium, including the loss of support, love, nurturing, and physical contact that may be lost due to the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, plaintiffs can obtain compensation for emotional distress caused by dealing with a new lifestyle due to their personal injuries.

The Harrison Law Group Will Help You With Your Premises Liability Case | Long Island & Suffolk County

A premises liability can lead to very serious injuries for the victim and those injuries could require expensive medical care. The property owner should be held accountable in those cases and that is exactly what we at the Harrison Law Group pledge to do for all of our clients. We will fight for all of our premises liability clients and do our best to make sure that they never have to pay out of pocket for their medical bills or other accident-related expenses. So if you were injured on someone’s premises due to the negligence of the property owner, then give us a call to learn how we can help you.