East Meadow Premises Liability Attorney
East Meadow is filled with a wide variety of restaurants and shopping opportunities that help to make the area popular with residents throughout the region. However, one thing these places all have in common is that the owners or managers of East Meadow business establishments—as well as private property owners and agencies managing public properties—must ensure that the property is free from hazards that can injure guests. Failing to do so can lead to liability for expenses arising from the guest’s injuries.
If you have been injured at a commercial, private, or public property, you can seek to recover damages related to the expenses and impacts your injury has caused.
An East Meadow premises liability lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers LLP can help. We’ve helped hundreds of clients who found themselves injured on other people’s properties when owners and renters failed to keep them safe for guests by recovering millions of dollars in compensation. Call now to see if we can help you.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is an area of the law that pertains to a property owner’s responsibility to keep the property free from hazards that can result in injury to visitors. The duty of care that property owners have for their visitors depends on the type of visitor.
There are four types of visitors:
- Invitee: An invitee is a person who was invited by the property owner to be on the property for commercial or business reasons. This invitation may be directly expressed, such as a cable repairman being asked to go to a private residence to provide service. It may also be implied, such as a store opening its doors for the day. While customers did not necessarily receive a direct invitation to come to the store, the business’ opening of the store during store hours is an implied invitation for customers to come inside. The duty of care owed to this type of guest is generally the highest, requiring regular inspection of the property to immediately mitigate any unsafe conditions, and either immediate mitigation measures or warning signs prominently placed near the hazard.
- Licensee: A licensee is someone who is invited to a property for a reason other than business. This category generally involves social guests who have been invited to a private, commercial, or public property either by express invitation of the owner/manager of the property. Also falling in this category are individuals who were not invited to the property but who were permitted by an owner or manager who knew that they were there and did not ask them to leave. The duty of care owed to a licensee would be to promptly repair any known hazards or to properly warn guests of the hazard.
- Trespasser: A trespasser is an uninvited and unwanted guest on the property. Property owners owe very little duty of care to trespassers and are only required to avoid setting traps that could injure the trespasser.
- Child trespasser: Child trespassers are not like adult trespassers, and are not treated the same way legally. The natural curiosity of children, combined with a lack of understanding of the consequences of trespassing, places the responsibility for protecting children who might wander onto a property and into a hazardous situation back into the hands of the property owner. In New York, property owners owe a special duty of care to ensure that unsafe features such as swimming pools or old appliances or cars are not accessible or visible to children passing by.
Types of Premises Liability
There are many different types of premises liability claims. Listed below are some of the most common types experienced in East Meadow.
Slip/Trip and Fall
Slip and fall or trip and fall are the most common of premises liability claims and involve an injury to a person who has slipped or tripped and fallen due to a dangerous property condition. While any type of injury can be caused by a slip/trip and fall accident, the National Floor Safety Institute reports that bone fractures are the most common injury and occur in approximately 5 percent of all slip/trip and fall incidents. Hip fractures are of particular concern for older individuals as this type of injury is likely to have serious complications and could even lead to death.
Slip/trip and fall accidents can be caused by conditions such as:
- Obstacles in the walkway.
- Water, snow, or debris on the floor.
- Poor lighting, particularly in stairwells.
- Improperly designed or poorly maintained stairways.
- Broken or missing handrails.
- Icy pathways.
- Broken sidewalks.
- Potholes in parking lots.
Hazardous features are not the only thing that property owners are liable for protecting their guests from. Owners and managers are also required to make an effort to prevent their guests from falling victim to crime on the property as well.
Some of the measures that owners can take to ensure the security of their guests from crime include:
- Placing locks and security alarms on the doors and windows of apartment units or hotel rooms.
- Providing security cameras inside the property as well as in the parking lot.
- Providing a security patrol of parking lots or security guards for the premises.
- Passing regulations to prevent bullying and assault on school campuses.
Elevator/ Escalator Accidents
Elevators and escalators are common property features, both in commercial residences such as apartments or hotels, as well as department stores and other businesses. On average, elevators and escalators cause about 27 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Some of the common accidents caused by these features include:
- Individuals being struck by a closing elevator door.
- Elevators that have fallen out of level, meaning the elevator does not line up with the floor, causing an individual to trip when attempting to exit the elevator.
- Individuals becoming injured while attempting to climb out of a stalled elevator.
- Individuals getting injured when their clothing becomes entangled in the elevator door or the escalator belt.
- Individuals injured by a fall from an escalator.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Each day in the U.S. approximately ten people die of unintentional drowning. While many of these drownings occurred in natural waterways, such as lakes, others occurred as a result of swimming pool accidents. The owners or managers of private or public swimming pools are not responsible for every drowning that occurs, but they are responsible for taking measures to avoid drownings, including fencing the pool to prevent others—particularly children—from accessing it and placing prominent warning signs that note that there is no lifeguard on duty.
Drowning is not the only hazard that swimming pool owners must protect their guests from. Additional hazards include injuries incurred from defective or poorly maintained filters or drains, as well as injuries incurred from slippery surfaces on the edge of the pool.
New York’s dog bites laws are a hybrid of strict liability and one-bite rule. In cases where a dog has already been determined to be a dangerous dog by the state’s definition, the owner is strictly liable for the expenses incurred to anyone injured by the dog. If the dog is not considered dangerous but bites someone, the claimant will have to prove that the dog’s owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dog’s aggressive tendencies.
In New York, a dangerous dog is one that has previously attacked or killed a person, companion animal, domestic animal, or farm animal without justification or who has behaved in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe there was an imminent threat of injury or death.
Amusement Park Accidents
Each year, thousands of people are injured on amusement park rides. While many of these injuries are attributed to risks that the rider willingly assumed, others are the result of defective or poorly maintained rides. Among the injuries most commonly suffered are neck and head injuries, facial lacerations, knee injuries, and injuries to the upper and lower trunk.
Other Premises Liability Cases
While the above are some of the most common types of premises liability accidents, owners and managers have the responsibility to mitigate other property hazards to keep their visitors safe.
- Fires resulting from lack of maintenance or clutter and debris collected around ignition sources.
- Flooding resulting from faulty pipes or other issues that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about. Many of the injuries caused by flooding are the result of mold exposure.
- Exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals present on the property that the owner knew about and failed to address.
Filing a Premises Liability Claim in East Meadow
If you were injured due to a dangerous property condition, you can seek recovery of damages related to the expenses and impacts you have faced as a result of your injury. A premises liability lawsuit is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to prove liability for the accident and prove the damages that the claimant experienced. New York allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages in this type of case.
Economic damages refer to out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the claimant, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, if you are too injured to work or must miss work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if your injury results in a permanent disability and you can’t work.
- The cost of hiring someone to perform household services that you can’t do for yourself because of your injury.
Non-economic damages refer to the impacts that your injury has had on your life, such as:
- Physical pain and emotional suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
As previously stated, if you file a premises liability claim, you will be required to show how the defendant in your case was liable for your injuries. This is done by establishing the following elements:
- You were legally on the property. You must show that you were either invited to the property to do business or as a social guest. If you were trespassing on the property, you must show that the property owner knew you were there and had not asked you to leave.
- The property owner or manager was negligent in that there was a hazardous condition that he or she knew about or reasonably should have known about and he or she failed to provide you with adequate warning of this condition or to repair the condition.
- The property owner or manager’s negligence caused you to become injured by the hazardous condition.
Determining the Value of Your Case
The value of your case is how much you might recover in damages. This value is calculated by:
- Adding up all of the economic damages.
- Prescribing a value to non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, or other hardship.
- Adding your total economic damages and your total non-economic damages to arrive at a value to your case.
Certain factors can impact the value of your case, including the amount of insurance the at-fault party has, as insurance is how most premises liability claims are paid.
Negotiating a Settlement
The vast majority of premises liability cases are settled out of the courtroom. This, however, can take some time. Insurance companies do not like to payout high amounts for injuries caused by their insured. However, they like even less the prospect of paying for expensive litigation and potentially an award to the defendant as well. This is why the defense generally makes the best settlement offer either just before trial begins or right before a jury renders judgment.
Instead of a fair settlement offer, viable cases will sometimes proceed to litigation. This includes the delivery of opening and closing remarks, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses. Typically, a jury and/or judge deliver the outcome of the case.
Injured by a Dangerous Property Condition in East Meadow? Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Can Help.
If you were injured by a dangerous property condition in East Meadow, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help you understand the legal options that are available to you. Contact us for a free case evaluation by calling (877) 565-2993, filling out our online contact form, or opening a chat with our live representatives.
East Meadow Office
90 Merrick Avenue, Suite 601
East Meadow, NY 11554
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