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Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents: What New Yorkers Should Know

As part of our ongoing conversation about slip and fall cases in New York, today we are looking at what proving fault in slip and fall accidents requires according to the law. To pursue a successful case, it is not simply enough to demonstrate that you fell on another person’s property. You also must prove that your fall was someone else’s fault and not solely due to your own carelessness.

Common Slip and Fall Case Scenarios

Slip and fall cases often result from walking on wet or uneven surfaces. A common scenario is when a person becomes injured after walking across a freshly mopped floor, loose floorboards, unsecured floor mats, or carpeting that is worn down. Here in New York, snowy and icy sidewalks often cause slip and fall accidents, as well as poor lighting along sidewalks and in buildings.

A person may pursue a slip and fall case after having an accident involving a broken handrail or when loose electrical wires are exposed on the floor. These accidents can take place at retail stores, outside government buildings, and in the private home of a neighbor. At construction sites, workers who are not properly trained in safety may have slip and fall accidents that can be tied back to the negligence of their employer.

How Slip and Fall Liability is Determined

To prove fault in a slip and fall case, you must be able to show one of three things:

  1. That the property owner caused the dangerous condition that made you fall,
  2. That the property owner knew about the dangerous condition and chose not to fix it, or
  3. That the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition because a reasonable person would have noticed it and fixed it.

Factors that weigh in on slip and fall liability determinations include how long the dangerous condition existed before the accident, what the property owner’s protocol was for inspecting the area for dangerous conditions, and how the dangerous condition could have been remedied and prevented the accident.

The Reasonable Negligence Claim

One major reason why these cases are challenging and require the skills of a slip and fall lawyer is that proving fault in slip and fall accidents often comes down to what a property owner “should” have known and should have “reasonably” done about it. An attorney can make a reasonable negligence claim by demonstrating if the property owner acted in a way that is consistent with how others in a similar position would have kept the area safe for anyone who may be walking by.

A reasonable negligence claim can be proven with documented records (or lack of such records) that detail how a property owner regularly inspects and cleans the property. If a plaintiff fell over an object that was necessary for some purpose, the defendant must be able to prove what that purpose was and outline the time frame that it needed to be there. All of this relies on what a “reasonable person” in that position would do, which relates to industry standards, common sense, and legal obligations.

What Could Make You Look Careless?

There are certain factors that can make you look negligent for your own injuries in a slip and fall case. For example, wearing flimsy footwear rather than supportive shoes can make you look careless as a plaintiff and make it more difficult to prove a slip and fall case.

Other factors are if you were rushing and in a hurry, if you were distracted by something, if you ignored warning signs, or if you were on the premises without permission. The “reasonable person” standard can be applied to a plaintiff as well if the injured party should have reasonably anticipated the danger and avoided it.

How a Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help with Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents

The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum helps in proving fault in slip and fall accidents to get plaintiffs the compensation they deserve. Although these types of cases are very common, their value should never be diminished because the injures they cause can be very severe.

Whether your slip and fall accident occurred on a sidewalk, in an apartment building, in a supermarket, in a parking lot, or on any other public or private property, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact us at 718-237-5586 or send us a message so we can fight for you and your rights.

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