Winning in a Slip and Fall Case
When people think about a slip and fall case, they typically think about someone falling on a sheet of ice during the winter or tripping over an uneven sidewalk. However, there are various types of slip and fall accidents that do not occur on ice or an uneven sidewalk. Slip and fall accidents can involve spilled water or structural defects, such as a broken staircase.
On December 24, 2007, a woman in New York injured her right wrist and left ankle while walking down stairs at a bus terminal. She subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging that she fell due to a missing section of the steps. On August, 13, 2013, a jury agreed with her allegations and awarded her damages in the amount of $413,000 for past and future pain and suffering plus medical expenses. On April 2, 2015, the appeals court entered an opinion agreeing with the lower court award.
Winning Damages in a Slip and Fall Case
In order to win damages in a slip and fall case in New York, it is necessary to prove that the defendant caused a dangerous condition. If the defendant did not cause the dangerous condition, then the injured person must show that the defendant knew about the dangerous condition or that the dangerous condition existed long enough for the defendant to have “constructive notice” about the dangerous condition. In other words, the dangerous condition existed so long that the defendant should have known about it.
Even if the defendant caused a dangerous condition and or had actual or constructive notice about it, an individual injured from a slip and fall will not recover damages if the injured person assumed the risk of the dangerous condition. For example, an individual who voluntarily participates in an activity such as ice skating cannot sue the ice arena after falling. There are known risks involved in certain recreational activities and an individual participating in those types of recreational activities assumes the risk of participating.
Under New York law, the court will also look at the injured person’s actions in analyzing a slip and fall case. The court may reduce or eliminate the injured person’s damages if the injured person was also negligent. For example, the court might determine that someone running on an icy sidewalk was partly to blame for falling.
In order to successfully litigate a slip and fall case, it is often important to have evidence such as photographs and expert witness testimony. An expert witness is someone with a special skill, education or experience who can explain something that is not common knowledge. An expert witness can be useful if a case contains claims involving a structural defect, such as an improperly designed staircase.
Don’t Hesitate to Contact an Attorney Today
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an attorney promptly in order to recover damages. A New York attorney can evaluate your case and determine if the property owner is responsible for your slip and fall accident. Contact an attorney today for a free initial consultation.