At its broadest level, the concept of “premises liability” sounds very simple: a property owner is liable to visitors for injuries they suffer from unsafe conditions on that property. For more than forty years, the premises liability lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman (KGG) have represented injured parties in cases in both New York and New Jersey. We know that premises liability lawsuits are never simple, and that your lawyer’s knowledge and experience can make all the difference in helping you to recover damages for injuries you suffer when a property owner negligently exposes you to risks.
Common Premises Liability Accidents
“Premises liability” can encompass a wide array of injury scenarios, including:
- Slips, trips and falls, on both seen and hidden obstacles
- Injuries around swimming pools
- Animal bites from domestic or wild animals on the property
- Inadequate security that increases the risks of criminal theft or assault on visitors by third parties
- Injuries on commercial properties, such as retail stores and restaurants
- Inherent hazards from structures and landscaping on the property
- Strict liability hazards from situations such as the use or storage of explosives, or caustic chemicals
Assessing Liability in Premises Liability Cases
A premises liability lawsuit does not begin and end with an injury to a visitor on the premises. Premises liability attorneys will need to examine a host of other factors.
Was the visitor an invitee, a licensee, a social guest, or a trespasser?
Property owners are presumed to have made an implied promise to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of persons that they invite to the property. Unlike invitees and guests, licensees and trespassers do not receive an implied promise that the owner has taken reasonable measures to verify the safety of the property.
What was the owner’s knowledge of the unsafe conditions?
In cases where an injury occurs on a commercial premises, New York State examines whether a property owner was aware of recurring unsafe conditions (e.g. puddled water from a leaky pipe) that might injure an invitee. Alternately, New Jersey places a greater burden on the premises owner to show that he, she, or it acted reasonably, regardless of whether it had knowledge of recurring unsafe conditions.
Do premises owners owe any duty to trespassers?
A premises owner might be liable to trespassers if the owner knows that a trespasser is likely to enter a property, if the owner has created or maintained conditions that can cause serious injuries or fatalities, and if the owner fails to post warnings about those conditions.
What if an injured party is partly to blame?
Different jurisdictions treat comparative negligence differently. A party that suffers a slip and fall injury in NY, for example, will receive damages that are reduced by his or her own contribution to the injury, regardless of the amount of that contribution. If that party were injured in NJ, he or she can collect damages only if his or her contribution to the injury is not greater than the property owner’s contribution.
Factors That Contribute to Premises Liability Settlements & Awards
An experienced premises liability lawyer will demand damages to compensate for multiple different types of injuries:
- Compensatory or actual damages for medical expenses, lost earnings and loss of income, and physical pain and suffering that are necessary to put the injured party back in the same position he or she was in prior to the accident;
- Punitive damages in cases where penalizing a negligent party will discourage further egregious or willful or wanton negligence;
- Court costs and legal fees, particularly where a premises liability case does not settle, but proceeds to trial.
A skilled and experienced lawyer will know how to calculate the actual damages that an injured party will suffer as a result of an injury, and will use that calculation to negotiate a settlement or to demand damages at trial. Factors that typically affect actual damages include the age of the injured party, and the length of time that is required for full recovery from the injury.
How You Can Benefit from Representation by the Premises Liability Attorneys at KGG
The premises liability lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assess your case quickly, to verify the responsibility of the property owner toward you, and to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We have negotiated settlements and recovered damages at trial for injured parties throughout New York and New Jersey. We offer complementary case evaluations, and you will pay nothing unless we recover damages for you.
Additional “Premises Liability Law in NY & NJ” Resources:
- Justia.com: Premises Liability https://www.justia.com/injury/premises-liability/
- Justia, Rowe v. Mazel Thirty, LLC, https://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/supreme-court/2012/a-95-10.html