Personal injuries occur every hour of every day in New York City. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are preventable and can be attributed to the presence of hazardous conditions or materials on business or residential premises. When a preventable accident causes injury on NYC premises, the premises’ owners/managers may be held liable for damages.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a personal injury accident, you may not know whether premises liability truly applies in your case or whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit. An experienced PI lawyer will be able to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to by law.

To learn more, please contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at (516) 342-2200. Your consultation will be free and you won’t have to pay us a cent unless we win!.

If, however, you would prefer to first see how a premises liability attorney can be helpful to your case, please continue reading.

Premises Liability Explained

Premises liability is a legal principle stating that property owners and/or managers are responsible for keeping their properties safe so as to not put reasonable visitors in harm’s way. In other words, a NYS property owner is liable for preventable injuries that occur on their property when the property is found to be the proximate cause of a reasonable guest’s injury.

Examples of property liability in action include but are not limited to:

  • After a winter storm, a retail store opens for business. However, the store owner fails to remove the ice in front of the store’s entryway. Moreover, the owner does not put up any signs warning potential visitors of this hazard. Subsequently, a store customer slips and falls on the ice, breaking his wrist. Under New York premises liability law, the property owner and/or store owner may be liable for the injury.
  • An apartment complex manager is aware that one of the building’s stairways is unstable and about to give out. In an attempt to save money, she does not fix the stairs. Shortly thereafter, an apartment tenant steps on the weakened stairway and falls, dislocating his hip. Under NYS law, the apartment complex manager may be on the hook for damages.
  • A restaurant employee mops the floor in the dining area during regular business hours. With no Wet Floor” sign in view, a customer then passes the employee. Unaware of the imminent danger in her pathway, the unexpecting customer slips and falls. From hitting her head, she suffers a concussion. Per New York liability law, the restaurant would likely take on liability for the injury (not the employee).

As evidenced by the above situations and many others like them, premises liability grants ways for injured individuals to acquire compensation for the injuries they sustain while on the property of others.

When Does Premises Liability Apply to Accidents?

Premises liability applies whenever a property owner or manager’s negligence leads to preventable injury. In a legal sense, negligence means that a property manager or owner was neglectful in their reasonable duties to patrons or customers.

For example, NYC landlords have a duty to keep their apartment buildings safe for their tenants. If they fail to do so and a tenant sustains an injury because of that negligence, they are liable under NYS premises liability laws.

However, premises liability laws do not apply to accidents that could not be anticipated or prevented. For example, if a person trips and falls due to no fault other than their own, a property manager or owner would likely not be liable for any injuries caused.

Unfortunately, this issue of preventability” can create a grey area, making it difficult for accident victims to know whether premises liability applies in their specific case.

For a proper assessment of your claim and the circumstance surrounding it, you should consult with a premises liability lawyer right away. You can do this by calling (516) 342-2200 and speaking with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers premises liability expert today.

Where Do Premises Liability Accidents Occur?

Premises liability accidents occur all over New York City. At any given moment, in each of the five boroughs, an accident of this nature can lead to serious personal injury. Areas where premises liability accidents more commonly occur include but are not limited to:

  • Apartment complexes
  • Supermarkets
  • Office buildings
  • Schools
  • Subway platforms and/or walkways
  • Parking garages and/or parking lots
  • Sports stadiums
  • Restaurants
  • Public transportation stations for buses, trains, and taxis

In short, anywhere there’s a property owner or manager, premises liability may apply in the event of preventable accidents and injuries.

That said, premises liability does not necessarily apply to private property such as homes. However, other types of liability may apply if an invited guest or reasonable occupant (such as a hired plumber) is injured due to the owner’s neglect of the property and its fixtures.

Who Is Liable for Injuries on Public Property?

You might think that public property is collectively owned and that, in the event of a premises-related accident, liability would not apply. In reality, however, if you are injured on public property due to a preventable cause you may still have a premises liability claim.

So, who would be liable for these injuries? Potential examples include:

  • Municipal entities, which may be charged with constructing and maintaining the property over the long term (e.g. construction companies, New York City’s government, etc.).
  • Any private entity or worker contracted to maintain the property (e.g. gardeners, groundskeepers, area supervisors, etc.).
  • Product manufacturers for materials or products used on public property. For example, if a child is injured on a public playground because of a malfunctioning jungle gym, the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) may have a premises liability claim against the playground manufacturer for providing faulty equipment.

How Do Premises Liability Attorneys Help?

A skilled premises liability attorney will be able to provide you with an array of legal services so that you can recover financially and focus on what’s really important: getting better.

To find out what the experienced attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. can do for you specifically, call us now at (516) 342-2200. Or, if you’d prefer to further your general understanding of the subject first, consider the following ways an expert premises liability attorney can help you win your case:

Gather Evidence

Firstly, well-qualified premises liability attorneys know what evidence to gather and will be able to present it convincingly to the court. Remember: Most premises liability lawsuits are far from open and shut. They often require a very high burden of evidence to prove that a building owner and/or manager was neglectful in their duties.

Premises liability attorneys can help you gather evidence such as:

  • Police reports
  • Medical records
  • Security camera footage
  • Supplemental visual documentation (e.g. photographs, video recordings)
  • Eyewitness accounts from those at the scene of the accident

Evidentiary materials are absolutely critical for establishing liability. This is because proving negligence on the part of a building owner and/or manager requires more than just your word versus theirs. To be successful, you will have to prove that the responsible party was negligent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Back You in Court

Next, premises liability attorneys can provide moral and legal support in court. They will help you present a convincing case to the judge and ensure that all appropriate paperwork is filed on time.

This is important because many personal injury cases have a strict statute of limitations (typically three years in New York City), beyond which you may be barred from filing a lawsuit for the injury at hand. Your premises liability lawyer will make sure your lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations expires.

Maximize Damages for a Premises Liability Claim

Perhaps most importantly, premises liability attorneys can help you maximize the compensation you receive for your premises liability claim. In turn, you will be better able to recover financially as well as physically in the face of any debts associated with medical, rehabilitative, and related costs.

On your own, accident-related costs can be extremely difficult to pay off, especially if your injury requires you to take time off work. With the right premises liability attorney by your side, however, you will be in a prime position to acquire the maximum compensation possible for your personal injury.

As such, you should never file a premises liability case without a skilled attorney on your side.

What Compensation Can You Receive for a Premises Liability Claim?

The compensation that personal injury victims may recover varies depending upon, among other factors, the nature of the injuries and the circumstances surrounding the claim. Damage amounts can range from as little as a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars or even up to millions of dollars depending on:

  • The level of neglect shown by the property manager and/or owner
  • The cost of medical bills for the injuries caused by the premises hazards

In total, you could see compensation for factors like:

  • Past and future medical expenses, including ongoing medical treatments (e.g. surgeries, prescription medications, physical therapy, etc.)
  • Loss of income if your injuries prevent you from returning to work
  • Loss of ability if the injuries sustained are severe or paralyzing
  • Pain and suffering if the injuries caused undue physical, mental, or emotional hardship

Moreover, if a property owner’s neglect leads to wrongful death, the direct relatives of the wrongful death victim may bring a premises liability claim against them. In terms of damages, wrongful death premises liability claims can produce compensation for loss of income, loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and more.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

While premises liability lawsuits can be complex, time-consuming, and frustrating, they don’t have to be. To lighten the load and guide you in the right direction, a trusted premises liability legal team like Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. can make all the difference. Call us at (516) 342-2200 to hear how we can help you secure the right evidence, negotiate with unreasonable property owners, or simply ensure that you aren’t charged with negligence for a property injury,

We have years of experience handling premises liability cases for injuries obtained at restaurants, retail stores, apartment buildings, and other residences. On top of that, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you receive as much compensation as you need to cover your medical bills and other accident-related expenses.

The clock is ticking. Act today to save your tomorrow.

For a free consultation and to learn how we will fight for you, call (516) 342-2200 and speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers personal injury pro who is guaranteed to treat you like family.


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You™™

Public Property | Wex | US Law | LII | Legal Information Institute

Premises Liability | NYC Bar

Litigating a Slip, Trip and Fall Case in New York City | NYSBA

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