Buffalo Premises Liability
When you visit a store, a restaurant, a nightclub, a hotel, or the home of a friend in Buffalo, you have a right to expect that the premises will be free of safety hazards. At the very least, you should expect to be warned of any dangerous condition that is not immediately observable. Property owners in New York have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition and to prevent foreseeable harm to visitors. When their failure to do so causes injury, they can be held accountable in a premises liability claim.
How Can People Be Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
Any dangerous condition existing on a property can cause harm to visitors. Common examples include:
- Slipping or tripping hazards that cause visitors to fall
- Poorly maintained elevators and escalators
- Defective stairways, with broken, tilted, or irregular steps, or broken or missing handrails
- Aggressive dogs that attack and bite
- Collapsing ceilings, balconies, or scaffolding
- Faulty wiring that causes fires or electrocutions
- Negligent security that results in criminal assault
- Improperly stacked merchandise that falls on customers
- Toxic substance exposure that causes harm to visitors
- Tree limbs that fall on people, vehicles, or structures
What Damages Are Available in a Premises Liability Claim?
If you have been seriously injured because of a dangerous condition existing on a property, you may be entitled to claim economic and noneconomic compensatory damages, designed to compensate you for your losses. New York does not impose damages caps on personal injury cases. Damages you may be entitled to claim will depend on the circumstances of your case. As an example, damages in premises liability case may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages or earnings
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What Must You Prove to Win a Premises Liability Case?
Four elements must exist in every premises liability case. To win, you must prove:
- The property owner had a duty of care to maintain the property free of hazards.
- The property owner breached that duty – failed to maintain the property in a safe condition or failed to adequately warn of a danger that was not obvious to a reasonable observer.
- The property owner’s negligence directly caused your injuries.
- You suffered actual harm and damages as a result.
How Does Your Status as a Visitor Affect Your Claim?
Since 1976, New York law no longer classifies visitors as invitees, licensees, or trespassers for determining duty of care in premises liability matters. In the past, property owners owed a higher duty of care to visitors of a certain status. Now, the property owner’s duty of care depends on the foreseeability of a visitor on the premises, regardless of status. Trespassers (people with no legal right to be there) will probably not be able to recover damages for injuries sustained on a property unless they can prove the landowner deliberately placed hazards with malicious intent to harm.
Do the Same Premises Liability Rules Apply to Residential and Commercial Properties?
All property owners in New York have a legal responsibility to keep their premises safe for visitors. The same duty of care applies whether the property is private, public, residential, or commercial. If property owner negligence led to an accident that resulted in injury, victims are entitled to seek compensation.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Negligent property owners may not admit fault and their insurance companies may deny liability. Our Buffalo premises liability attorneys at the Russell Friedman Law Group have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve.
Contact us at (716) 335-9239 after an accident with serious injuries on someone else’s property to find out how we can help.
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Russell C. Friedman
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Bruce M. Klein
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