With the end of summer and autumn just beginning, it will not be long before New Yorkers are getting out their snow shovels and winter gear to deal with cold weather. And, with cold weather comes the risk of slipping and falling due to ice. Though, at first glance, a person slipping and falling might not be viewed as significantly dangerous, but it can lead to broken bones, cuts, head injuries and spinal cord injuries. It can even result in death. However, it is a property owner's responsibility to keep the area safe for those walking on it.
Negligence cases involving car accidents are well known. However, falls or slip-and-fall accidents are even more prevalent but seemingly go unnoticed. After car crashes, falling is the second leading cause of death by injury in this country and causes 32,000 deaths each year.
Since 2003, the City of New York holds property owners responsible for injuries caused by unsafe sidewalk conditions, such as improperly maintained or icy sidewalks. This law is intended to protect the City from liability for injuries caused by a property owner's failure to keep the sidewalks in good condition.
A tourist from the United Kingdom received an unwelcome and dangerous surprise when she suffered head injuries after an object fell out of the sky and crashed into her earlier this month in Tribeca. The debris fell off a residential building in an accident that the Department of Buildings said was preventable.
Sometimes, a dog may harm people and other animals. New York provides limited relief for victims suffering injuries from a dog attack.
Under New York law, owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe, so as to avoid visitors being injured in preventable accidents. This means property owners must periodically inspect the premises and repair hazardous conditions. If they breach this duty, and a visitor is injured as a result, the injured person can seek compensation for their damages through a lawsuit. The legal theory behind this is known as premises liability.
Generally, property owners have a duty to reasonably protect those visiting or living on the property from dangerous conditions. Failure to adequately maintain the property can cause people to be seriously injured. Some people may even be killed. One New York couple is reeling after the tragic loss of their two daughters. The tragedy occurred at the family's apartment after a radiator valve popped off, releasing hot steam into the room where the girls were sleeping. The daughters, aged two and one, passed away due to hyperthermia and internal organ failure. The girls suffered burns to over 70 percent of their bodies.
Whether people are shopping at a department store or visiting a friend's apartment, property owners have a responsibility to make sure that their property is safe for visitors. While the amount of responsibility may vary based on what type of guest people are, the general rule is that property owners owe visitors some sort of duty to maintain the premises.
Every year, a number of New Yorkers are injured or killed while on someone else's property. Many of these incidents are caused by negligent property owners who fail to reasonably maintain the condition of their property. In a particularly tragic occurrence, a six-week old baby was killed recently after her stroller fell down an empty elevator shaft in a Brooklyn building.
Many New Yorkers love to let their pets play outdoors in the sunshine during the summer. However, with more animals out and about, there is a greater risk for injury caused by animal attacks. Every year, people are seriously injured by household pets.