Bronx Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability claims involve injuries that are a result of an accident on someone else’s property. New York law requires property owners to maintain a safe environment for visitors and warn them about any known hazards on the property. Careless property owners who do not comply put others at risk for accidents and injuries. When a person sustains injuries on someone else’s property, New York law permits them to take legal action against the property owner. Severe injuries can financially devastate victims and their families because of the steep costs of medical treatment and lost income.
If you have suffered injuries on someone else’s property, you should not have to struggle financially. If you live in the Bronx, the skilled premises liability lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact our Bronx Premises Liability lawyers today for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your premises liability accident and injuries.
Types of Accidents and Injuries in Premises Liability Cases
A wide array of accidents and injuries fall under the umbrella of premises liability. The following list provides a broad overview of some of the most common accident and injury scenarios that give rise to premises liability claims.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, and other types of unintentional falls constitute the vast majority of premises liability claims. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 150 children ages 14 leads to severe injuries requiring medical treatment. Falls also account for the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries in all age groups and the leading cause for hip fractures in those over age 65.
The CDC also reports that more than three million people visit the emergency room each year in the United States to get treated for injuries related to an unintentional fall. Falls are predictable and preventable. Careless property owners who do not address dangerous hazards put visitors at risk.
Some examples of common things that lead to slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents include:
- Failure to remove snow and ice or debris from doorways, parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways.
- Failure to clean up spills in a reasonable amount of time.
- Use of slippery substances such as floor wax, oil, and powders without warning visitors.
- Poor or improper home or building maintenance leading to rotted or worn materials like steps, handrails, floor coverings, and structural features.
- Falling debris from construction sites and other work areas.
- Uneven sidewalks, walking trails, and other pathways.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming provides respite from hot summer days and serves as a way for many to get some exercise throughout the year. But pool owners who improperly or inadequately maintain their pools put swimmers at risk for accidents and injuries. The Consumer Products Safety Commission, the federal agency that monitors dangerous products, estimates that approximately 150 children ages 14 and under drown each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In fact, pool drownings are the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four. Older children and adults also suffer injuries in and around swimming pools at water parks, hotels, private pools, or community pools.
Unsafe conditions and failures by pool owners that can lead to severe accidents and injuries include:
- Failure to provide supervision or a lifeguard.
- Adding the wrong chemicals or too many chemicals to a pool.
- Failure to clean the pool, causing dangerous bacteria.
- Failure to maintain the area around the pool, drains, pumps, filters, diving boards, steps, and slides, potentially causing serious accidents.
- Failure to construct a gate, fence, or another barrier to keep small children and animals away from outdoor pools.
- Failure to monitor crowd levels.
- Failure to provide safety devices to help save distressed swimmers.
Inadequate Building Security
Under New York law, protecting visitors and renters from third-party crimes also falls under the umbrella of providing a safe environment. Property owners can secure their land and buildings in a variety of ways to make them safe for visitors.
Some examples include:
- Installing security systems.
- Restricting access with a card, key, or gate.
- Increasing or adding lighting in dark areas inside and outside a building.
Property owners who fail to provide adequate security put visitors and tenants at risk of rape, murder, assault, and other serious crimes that can lead to physical and psychological injuries.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
The Bronx, like every other place in New York City, is full of shopping malls, hotels, and office buildings with elevators and escalators. These machines provide a valuable service that allows us to move quickly and effortlessly around a building when we visit, especially for disabled and elderly persons who struggle with mobility. Yet, when elevators and escalators malfunction, users may suffer severe injuries.
Some mechanical issues with escalators and elevators that can give rise to premises liability claims include:
- Poor installation resulting in loose parts.
- Sudden stops on escalators and sudden drops on elevators.
- Inadequate or irregular preventative maintenance.
- Inadequate or irregular inspections.
- Malfunctioning doors on elevators.
- Uneven elevator landings.
- Side-step entrapment on escalators, which is especially dangerous for young children.
Building Fires and Explosions
Fires and explosions are not common occurrences, but when they do occur they can lead to severe injuries and sometimes fatalities. Depending on the exact cause of a fire or explosion, a property owner may be responsible for injuries suffered by visitors or tenants.
Many things can ignite a fire or explosion, including:
- Lit cigars and cigarettes or those not properly extinguished.
- Improper handling of flammable substances.
- Faulty wiring and poor electrical work.
- Gas leaks.
Victims who sustain severe burns in fires or explosions typically need to spend weeks or months in the hospital recovering, making burn injuries more costly than many other types of injuries. In the most severe cases, doctors must put burn victims into a medically-induced coma, so they don’t feel excruciating pain as they recover. Many burn victims are left with permanent scars even after skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that insurance companies pay out more than $600 million for dog bite claims each year. Dog bites fall under the umbrella of premises liability claims, but they are different from other claims. A dog can attack a person on their own property, on another person’s property, or in a public place like on a sidewalk or in a park. The dog owner may or may not be present when a bite happens.
In any of these cases, homeowners’ insurance policies typically cover dog bite claims. Often, dog bites cause permanent scarring and in the most severe cases, they can lead to infection. They also can severely traumatize children, whose size makes them easy targets for ill-behaved pets, sometimes requiring years of cognitive therapy to help them cope with the event.
Common questions regarding premises liability in the Bronx
When you have suffered an injury on a business or residential property in the Bronx, you may have the right to file a premises liability claim to compensate you for your injuries. Victims of premises liability questions naturally have a lot of questions, from what creates the basis for a claim to the different ways one can pursue compensation once they do have a claim. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions about premises liability.
What is premises liability law in the Bronx?
Basically, the law states the owner of a property must keep a property safe for guests. This means the property must be free of hazards, such as broken handrails on stairways, wet floors without warning signs, inadequate security (applicable to particular premises, like concert venues).
The law of premises liability in the Bronx applies to private residences as well as commercial facilities such as doctor’s offices, shopping centers, individual stores, and municipal buildings. Premises liability may also exist in public spaces, such as playgrounds or sidewalks, to which specific safety standards apply.
When a Bronx property fails to meet applicable safety standards, any victim who has suffered an injury may file a claim. This is typically against the property owner’s insurance, but in some cases, you file it against the owners themselves.
What types of Bronx accidents fall under premises liability?
Accidents can happen anywhere in the Bronx — when the accident leads to injury, the victim may have suffered because an owner failed to act reasonably.
Some types of accidents which can fall under premises liability include:
- Slip and fall accidents – When a Bronx property owner fails to put a warning sign next to a wet floor, or they have failed to clean snow or ice from their sidewalks, they may be held liable for any injury which occurs as a result of those hazards.
- Animal attacks or bites – In the Bronx, dog owners may be held liable for attacks by their dogs where a victim suffers a serious injury, and particularly where the injury is likely to result in permanent scarring
- Stairwell accidents – Victims who fall down flights of stairs due to unevenly spaced or sized stairs, poorly lit stairwells, or broken handrails can seek to hold the Bronx property owner accountable for the injuries they suffer.
These are only a few cases where someone may suffer an injury that falls under the premises liability statutes in the Bronx. If you experienced injury after an accident on another’s property, consult with an experienced Bronx premises liability attorney to see what options for recourse you may have.
The legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has the knowledge and resources to build the best case possible against careless property owners whose actions cause harm to others.
Are some facilities more dangerous than others?
Accidents can occur anywhere in the Bronx, but may take place more often in certain places.
The most common areas for injury include:
- Shopping malls – Whether it is due to merchandise falling from upper shelves, liquids spilled on the floor causing wet areas, or unmarked entrances where the floor is wet due to weather conditions–it is possible an owner or lessor of the applicable space may bear liability for your injuries.
- Public playgrounds – Broken swings and poorly maintained jungle gyms can all injure a child on a playground.
- Other public facilities – In public facilities such as subway stations, victims may suffer a host of injuries, from burns and impacts from construction equipment to lifelong illnesses due to working amid toxic fumes.
Are there any instances when I cannot hold a property owner liable?
A property owner might not bear liability for some injuries. Certain activities by nature are inherently dangerous, and may exempt a property owner from liability. A victim should therefore understand the danger.
Some of these include:
- Victims who are injured horseback riding
- Victims who suffer an injury while hunting, trapping, or fishing
- Victims who are injured while boating, or using a recreational vehicle
- Victims who suffer injuries while skiing, sledding, or snowshoeing
- Victims injured while training dogs
However, you should not assume you cannot hold someone accountable. Speak with an attorney who is familiar with Bronx premises liability laws before you decide how to proceed. Once you know your rights, a lawyer can help you understand who may be accountable legally for the injuries you suffered.
What should I do immediately following an injury on a Bronx property?
After taking care of your immediate medical needs, you should report the accident to the property owner, or someone responsible at the scene. It is also a good idea, if you or someone close by are able, to take photos of the area where you were injured. Get the contact information for any witnesses. Be sure to ask the property owner for their insurer’s contact information.
It’s worth emphasizing the importance of seeing a medical professional following your injury. This is important whether your injuries appear to be serious or only minor. Keep in mind, you may not be aware of how serious an injury is until a few hours after an accident, or even a day or two later. Make sure you let the physician who sees you know what the accident involved and where the accident occurred, so they can check you thoroughly for potentially hidden injuries.
After seeking medical care, you should seek the guidance of a Bronx premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. You must meet important insurance claim and premises liability lawsuit deadlines to preserve your chance to recover compensation; working with an experienced premises liability attorney who knows the important procedural requirements can help you rest assured and protect your financial interests.
What information should I provide the property owner’s insurance company?
If the property owner’s insurance company reaches out to you, provide them your name and contact information. Give them the specifics about your accident, date, time, and location. Finally, provide them the name of your attorney and their contact information. Should you be asked any additional questions, refer the insurance representative to your attorney. Keep in mind, insurers keep an eye out for reasons to deny your claim, and questions they ask are geared toward teasing out details to blame you for the injury, minimize your damages, or otherwise settle quickly and for as small a payout as possible.
What do I need to prove a property owner was negligent or responsible for my injury?
Bronx premises liability claims must be proven by the preponderance of the evidence. This means that you do not have to definitively prove the defendant was negligent, only that they were more than likely negligent. Even if you are not sure whether you have a solid case, speak with an attorney who has premises liability experience. You may have a better case than you initially think.
What will I need when meeting with a Bronx premises liability lawyer initially?
Generally, it is a good idea to have certain information available during your initial consultation with a Bronx premises liability attorney. You might want to bring whatever evidence of the accident you have. For example, if you have photographs of the location where your injury occurred, those would be helpful to help the attorney understand the accident and how it occurred. You should also prepare a list of questions you wish to ask — since every case is different, every client has different questions. These also will help the attorney better understand the case and your aims.
Your attorney may also ask you to bring a statement from the doctor you saw explaining your injuries. It’s also very helpful to the attorney to have ready the name and contact information of the owner of the property where you were injured, as well as the information for their insurance provider.
I received several documents to sign from the insurance company. What should I do?
Before you sign anything provided by the opposing party’s insurer, consult with an attorney. In many cases, the documents they provide have legal language that might confuse you and could result in you forfeiting certain rights if you sign them.
Some of the documents the insurance company may send to you to sign include:
- Demand for a written statement – Your attorney can help you craft a statement for the insurer that protects your case and discloses only those details as are required. The insurer may ask for information that seems irrelevant, but everything they ask aims to minimize their liability. For example, if they ask questions like “What were you doing just before you fell?” they may be fishing to see if you were on your cell phone. They could later use this to say you were not paying attention, and had you taken due care, you would have known of and could have avoided the dangerous condition that caused your injury.
- Demand for medical records – Insurers are going to try to dig deep into your medical history to see if your injuries can be tied back to a preexisting condition. For example, if you fell down a flight of stairs, resulting in a back injury, they could try to use your medical records to claim you have had back issues for years, and therefore they are not liable for your injury, or at least not fully liable. The insurer is entitled to the records regarding your current injury, but some of your past medical history is irrelevant and you might avoid disclosing it.
The insurance company for the property owner is not looking out for you. They are interested in limiting their liability as much as possible so they can maximize profits. Once you have hired a Bronx premises liability attorney, all communication to the insurance company should go through your attorney, who can represent you in a way that best protects your interests.
What is the deadline for filing a Bronx premises liability lawsuit?
In general, you have three years following a Bronx premises liability injury to file a lawsuit. This may seem like a long time. But remember that the process is complicated, and the time passes faster than you think. The longer you wait, the less time you have to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company so that you can avoid the lengthier process of filing a lawsuit; even if settlement isn’t a possibility, you want to ensure you have a comfortable amount of time to collect evidence and make other preparations before filing in court. The sooner you begin working with a lawyer, the better off you will be in the long run.
What compensation can I expect from a premises liability suit?
The types of compensation in a Bronx premises liability accident you can collect depend on the unique circumstances of your case. In general, you may recover the cost of your medical care, including emergency care immediately following the accident, in-hospital care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitation costs. You also might recover compensation for wages you lose during recovery, pain and suffering, and other damages. The best option is to discuss these issues with your personal injury lawyer and determine what damages you may recover.
How long will it take to settle a Bronx premises liability claim?
For most people, it is possible to reach a reasonable resolution with the insurance company without having to go through to a final trial. In some cases, this can happen quickly. However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, or consistently offers you far less than what you may otherwise be eligible to be compensated for, then the case will take longer because it may require going to court before they’ll be willing to fold.
How can I afford a Bronx premises liability lawyer?
When you are out of work because of an injury suffered due to a property owner’s negligence, you have immediate financial worries. Hiring an attorney can seem like just another expense. Keep in mind, however, that most premises liability attorneys offer free consultations, during which they can explain their fee structure and help you determine if moving forward with them is right for you. Furthermore, these attorneys often offer a contingency fee arrangement, meaning you do not pay any legal fees until they come to a successful outcome in your case.
Seeking Compensation for Damages From a Bronx Premises Liability Accident
Receiving compensation for injuries sustained on someone else’s property typically begins with filing a claim with the applicable insurance policy. Yet, insurance companies are generally not eager to offer full and fair compensation, even when they know their policyholder is at fault. A lawsuit is the most likely avenue to getting the compensation a victim deserves for their injuries.
When victims reach a settlement with the insurance company or a court rules in their favor, they can receive compensation for the following damages related to their injuries:
- Medical treatment costs, including ambulance and emergency response services, doctor visits, hospital stays, diagnostic imaging, surgery and associated costs, follow-up care, and medication.
- Estimated future medical treatment for those who sustain catastrophic injuries and require continuous treatment and care or must reside in a long-term care facility.
- Costs for rehabilitation, including treatment by specialists such as physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, or others who help the injured victims regain their lost functions and learn new ways of doing things after suffering a permanent injury.
- Lost wages due to injury, hospitalization, and recovery.
- Estimated future lost wages when a person suffers a catastrophic injury that will prevent them from working in the future.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Decreased quality of life.
- Loss of consortium with a spouse.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of a fatal injury on someone else’s property, you might be eligible for compensation depending on the circumstances of your case and your relationship with the deceased. Eligible family survivors can receive compensation for some of the above items as well as for funeral costs, burial expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of guidance for minor dependents. You can discuss the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit with your Bronx premises liability attorney, who will answer your questions and evaluate your eligibility.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Premises Liability Claims
The skilled personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have been representing injured clients for almost 50 years, including those who have sustained injuries on someone else’s property. The firm’s commitment to professional excellence and client advocacy has led to millions in compensation for our clients and their families, reducing or eliminating the financial burden that often accompanies a severe injury.
Some of the most recent settlements and verdicts Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has secured for clients in premises liability cases include:
- $3,250,000 settlement for the estate of a 25-year-old student who lost her life when she could not escape her apartment during a fire because the building’s stairwell, which was painted with flammable paint, did not have fire doors.
- $2,000,000 settlement for a client who needed skin grafts and surgery after a trip and fall accident.
- $1,625,000 settlement for a client who sustained a catastrophic back injury on a construction site.
- $1,105,000 for a client who suffered injuries when stairs collapsed as she was touring a house with her real estate agent.
- $950,000 settlement for clients whose baby suffered 3rd-degree burns because their landlord failed to maintain the temperature regulator on the hot water heater.
- $650,000 jury verdict for an elderly client who had to undergo hip replacement surgery after a slip and fall accident on the exterior steps of a house.
- $600,000 settlement for a client who sustained a severe neck injury after he slipped on water left on the floor by the maintenance staff of an office building.
- $550,000 settlement when a client suffered serious burns to his hands and face after his remote control triggered an explosion from a gas leak in the unit below.
- $450,000 settlement for a client who slipped and fell on ice when a homeowner failed to salt or sand the sidewalk in front of the house.
- $200,000 settlement for a client who underwent surgery on a ruptured tendon in his leg after he fell because his landlord didn’t salt or sand outside his home.
The examples above do not guarantee a specific financial outcome for your premises liability case. Each accident has unique underlying facts and circumstances that add to or detract from its value.
Contact a Bronx Premises Liability Attorney Today
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP understands the challenges that come in the wake of a severe injury, and we are here to help accident victims fight for the compensation they deserve. Negligent property owners who cause harm to others need to be held accountable for their carelessness.
Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today online, start a chat with one of our live representatives, or call us at (718) 294-0813 for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances that led to your injury. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, deducting our fees from any compensation we secure for you from a settlement or court-awarded damages, so you need not pay upfront or out-of-pocket.
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“We had the most amazing trial attorney at Jacoby and Meyers…. My sister was hit by a car in a parking lot and was really hurt. Sharon fought so hard in court for her. Sharon was really well liked by the people in the Court and did so much for my sister on her case…. It is a great firm and I highly recommend it to anyone with an injury case.”
Review by: Carolina V.
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