Staten Island Premises Liability Lawyer
No one leaves home expecting a serious injury to ruin their day and alter their life. Still, it happens right here on Staten Island with troubling regularity. People going about their daily activities suffer severe, even fatal, injuries because of unexpected, preventable hazards on commercial, residential, and public property that the property’s owner, occupant, or manager should have fixed or warned them about.
Fortunately, under New York law, those innocent victims of someone else’s disregard for their safety have legal rights to seek compensation through what is known as a premises liability lawsuit.
On Staten Island, the skilled and dedicated team of personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the experience and know-how to make sure those victims receive the money they deserve. If you suffered an injury because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, call us today at (877) 565-2993 or visit us online for a free case evaluation.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
For almost 50 years, Staten Island residents have turned to Jacoby & Meyers, LLP after suffering a serious injury through no fault of their own. We practice premises liability law and only work on behalf of the injured. Our mission is to fight on behalf of innocent victims of other people’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions, to get them the compensation they need and deserve.
Representing people who suffered injuries because of dangerous conditions on someone else’s property has always constituted a significant part of our law practice. Over the years, through hard work and an intense commitment to personalized client service, we have earned a reputation as a team of lawyers with the skill and determination to get results in even the toughest of cases. You can read about some of our recent successes for our clients.
Of course, we cannot guarantee the outcome of a case we take. However, we can promise to put the full measure of our experience and resources to work to give our clients the best shot possible of obtaining fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries and losses.
Premises Liability in a Nutshell
Premises liability is a term lawyers use to refer to the legal responsibility that a property owner, occupant, or manager has to keep visitors to a property safe from harm, and to pay money damages when a preventable, dangerous condition on the property injures a visitor.
In a premises liability lawsuit, the lawyer for the injured property visitor seeks to prove:
- That the lawyer’s client went onto a property with the property owner’s explicit or implicit permission, or at least with the property owner’s knowledge.
- That the property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on the property, but failed to fix it, warn about it, or keep visitors away from it.
- That the lawyer’s client suffered an injury because of that dangerous condition.
In New York, property owners have differing legal duties towards different groups of property visitors:
- Invitees have permission to enter a property for the (usually commercial) benefit of the property owner, occupant, or manager. Invitees generally consist of customers of businesses such as retail establishments or nightclubs. Visitors to public properties such as a City park may also count as invitees. New York law generally affords invitees the greatest legal protections. Property owners must maintain their properties to keep them safe for invitees, must repair known dangers, must warn invitees about those dangers, and must keep invitees away from areas that cannot be made safe.
- Licensees entered a property by express or implied invitation of the owner/occupant/manager, primarily for their own benefit. Social guests are licensees. So are people who generally have permission to enter a property, such as utility workers or building inspectors. Property owners must warn licensees about known, non-obvious property hazards, and must not intentionally harm licensees.
- Adult trespassers enter the property without the permission of the owner/occupant/manager. Owners/occupants/managers usually do not owe trespassers any duty other than not to harm them intentionally. However, New York law states that if the trespasser is on the property with the owner’s knowledge—even if the owner has not given permission or an invitation—the owner owes the trespasser a duty of care as if the trespasser had permission to be there.
- Child trespassers also enter property without permission, but New York law treats them differently from adult trespassers. Under what is known as the law of attractive nuisance, property owners/occupants/managers must take reasonable steps to secure and monitor any feature of their properties that might attract a child, such as a swimming pool, backyard trampoline, or pile of building materials. An owner who leaves these types of features open and accessible to children faces legal liability if children get hurt while in or on them.
Putting Staten Island property visitors into the proper classification, and pursuing property owners/occupants/managers for damages resulting from a dangerous condition, often poses some challenges. The legal professionals at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, however, have years of experience untangling and pursuing even the most complicated premises liability lawsuits, and getting results for injured victims.
Common Premises Liability Causes
In our decades of legal practice at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have represented clients in a broad range of premises liability lawsuits, stemming from all sorts of situations on properties throughout New York City. Some of the more common sources of injuries that lead to us filing a premises liability lawsuit on a client’s behalf include:
Falling after losing one’s footing (sometimes called a slip and fall) causes a significant number of injuries that lead to Staten Island premises liability lawsuits.
Frequent, preventable causes of unexpected, dangerous falls include:
- Wet flooring or floors that have been recently waxed.
- Worn or torn flooring or loose tiles.
- Clutter or debris in walkways.
- Poor lighting, particularly in stairwells.
- Uneven or cracked sidewalks.
- Potholes in parking lots.
- Electrical cords extending across high-traffic areas.
- Icy sidewalks, walkways, or parking lots.
- Broken or loose handrails or improperly constructed staircases.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, though fall fatalities are equal between males and females, women are more likely to suffer a slip and fall accident. Falls are the most common reason for visits to the emergency department, and slip and falls account for 12 percent of all falls requiring emergency treatment. About one million people are injured in the U.S. each year as a result of this type of accident. The primary contributors to slip and fall accidents are floors or flooring materials.
Property owners/occupants/managers must keep visitors to their properties safe from all types of known harms, including the threat of crime, and may face legal liability if they fail to address a known security problem that puts visitors at risk for falling victim to a violent crime such as assault, battery, burglary, or rape.
For example, a Staten Island property owner/occupant/manager may have liability in one of the following scenarios:
- An apartment manager who knows that there has been a series of break-ins but fails to properly secure the building, leading to a tenant getting injured by a burglar in the tenant’s apartment.
- A college that has received information that an individual has expressed the desire to harm students on campus but which fails to take precautions to prevent the individual from coming onto campus.
- A nightclub located in an area where there is known gang activity, at which management fails to ensure that no one carries weapons into the club.
To protect against the danger of criminal activity, Staten Island property owners/occupants/manager may have to:
- Hire security patrols.
- Install appropriate lighting to deny potential perpetrators dark corners in which to hide.
- Install security hardware, such as locks or camera surveillance systems.
- Use a drop safe at convenience stores and other retail establishments.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children ages one to four. The majority of these tragic drownings take place in home swimming pools. Property owners must secure their swimming pools to prevent children from wandering onto their property and falling into the pool. Additionally, property owners also supervise visitors who use the pool. Many hotels that provide swimming pools for guests to use place notices in prominent areas of the pool warning that there is no lifeguard on duty and that no one under a certain age is allowed to swim without adult supervision.
While swimming pool accidents commonly involve young children, adults are not immune to the danger. A 21-year-old man drowned in a city pool on Staten Island, and an off-duty lifeguard in his 20s was left in critical condition after the two were discovered floating facedown while participating in a lap swim program. Witnesses stated that the men were possibly doing training exercises in which they held their breath underwater when the early morning incident occurred.
The victims may have suffered shallow-water blackout, which occurs when a swimmer loses consciousness after suffering a lack of oxygen to the brain. Many organizations warn of this condition in their training materials. About 20 people were in the pool when the men were discovered, and five aquatics staff members and two lifeguards were on the pool’s deck.
Amusement Park Accidents
Recently, children and their parents were stuck on an amusement park ride high above the ground for about 45 minutes at a carnival in Staten Island. Firefighters were called in to assist the passengers, one by one, as they climbed down to the ground. It was unclear what caused the ride to malfunction.
According to a report prepared for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions by the National Safety Council, amusement park patrons suffer more than 1,000 ride-related injuries in the U.S. and Canada each year. Approximately 11 percent of these injuries are considered serious, meaning that they required immediate admission and hospitalization for more than 24 hours for purposes other than medical evaluation or resulting in a fatality. The remaining 89 percent of the injuries were not serious enough to result in hospitalization but required medical treatment beyond basic first aid.
The owners of fixed amusement park attractions face liability not only for injuries that take place on rides, but also for other hazardous property features that cause harm, such as cracked sidewalks, uneven walkways, poorly lighted areas, and negligent security.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
A 16-year-old boy died after falling down an elevator shaft at an abandoned Staten Island Hospital. The boy fell seven stories down the shaft of the building that had been abandoned in 1979. The building was later acquired by a developer who planned to convert it into condos, but that project never panned out. Over the years, the building had fallen to disarray and was often the site of teenage parties. Several fires and hundreds of safety violations took place there over the years, including reports of squatters living in the building. In the months before the accident, Staten Island officials announced a plan to convert it into an education complex and recreation center.
This situation was, unfortunately, the second elevator-related death for New York City in the span of a week. Earlier, a 37-year-old Israeli man died when the elevator in a building suddenly lurched downward.
Owners of buildings that have elevators and escalators have a duty to keep them in working order, or to prevent visitors from using them if they are not safe.
Skilled Staten Island Premises Liability Lawyers
Staten Island property owners, occupants, and managers have special duties to make sure that their properties stay safe for visitors. They face financial liability if they fail to fulfill those duties, and someone gets hurt.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries because of unreasonably dangerous conditions on a Staten Island property that someone should have either warned you about or fixed, then you may have important legal rights that could allow you to recover substantial compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact the experienced premises liability injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today at (877) 565-2993, start a chat with one of our live representatives, or contact us online, for a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation.