Ceiling Collapse Victim Nets Six-Figure Settlement for Pain and Suffering

May 23rd, 2024 by

After enjoying an afternoon out shopping with a friend, L.H. was tired and expected some relaxation after her fun-filled day. What she could have never expected, however, was to be the victim of a ceiling collapse accident.

Returning to the apartment building of a friend, L.H. entered the front door into a hallway leading to the building’s staircase. Before L.H. or her companion were able to even turn on a light, they were both hit with something solid and heavy. Frightened and frantic, they did not realize they had been struck by falling pieces of a neglected ceiling that had rotted from water damage and collapsed onto them.

They were quickly transported to the hospital, and it was discovered that L.H. had suffered injuries to her neck and shoulders, causing radiating pain throughout her entire body. Frustrated and looking for accountability, L.H. sought legal support. By connecting with Hill & Moin, she found what she was looking for.

Describing Attorney David Zwerin as “great and knowledgeable,” she appreciated that he took the time to explain every step of her case until he was certain she understood, despite that she is a predominantly Russian speaker. At the conclusion of her case, Hill & Moin’s fight to achieve a settlement for their soft tissue injuries paid off, resulting in a six-figure award for L.H. and her friend.

Moving forward, L.H. doesn’t have any plans yet, but she does have ideas for a vacation!

Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?

July 21st, 2021 by

Negligence is the failure to take proper care. Sometimes, one party’s negligence results in damage or injury to another person. In the eyes of the law, the negligent party is liable for his or her (or their) harmful actions.

As a New Yorker, the law offers you protections that enable you to seek justice if you were injured on someone else’s property. The responsibility of property owners is governed by premises liability law. Yet, is there a difference between premises liability and negligence?

First, you should understand the similarities. Negligence and premises liability are both legal terms used in personal injury law. Both may involve the failure of one party to act as one would reasonably expect under a certain set of circumstances.

What You Need to Know About Negligence Claims

Negligence may be a factor in nearly any type of personal injury claim, from car accidents to medical malpractice. If someone (the defendant) acted negligently by accident, a personal injury lawyer could take legal action to seek justice for the victim (the plaintiff).

In any case, an attorney would base a negligence claim on at least four essential components:

  • The plaintiff suffered an injury or a loss. When people or organizations make illegal mistakes, they might face legal consequences. For instance, they may pay a fine, forfeit a privilege, or spend time in jail. Yet, if their actions did you no harm, you cannot sue for financial compensation.
  • The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff. The relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff matters. The duty of a physician, for example, is to provide competent medical care for patients. Another person, on the other hand, would not owe the same duty to you that a doctor would. Thus, he or she would not have the same liability under the law.
  • The defendant breached the duty. To breach a duty means failing to fail to live up to responsibility, whether by law, contract, agreement, or code of conduct. Courts determine whether or not the defendant did (or failed to do) something that a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
  • The breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. Negligence, rather than any other factor, must have caused the injury. A court would also consider whether the damage was foreseeable or not. People could expect, for example, that driving drunk would endanger the lives of other motorists. Yet, hardly anyone could predict a sudden landslide would obstruct a lane of the highway.

Evaluating these requirements is a complex process. People could easily miss out on winning the compensation they deserve unless they have help. Our experienced legal team would be happy to evaluate your claim for free.

How To Understand Premises Liability Claims

Then, what is premises liability? This set of laws specifically governs property owners, their premises, and the people who might enter their properties. In court, the condition of the property influences the decision. If the dangerous condition was foreseeable but the defendant did nothing to prevent an accident, then you have the determining factor right there.

Simply put, lawyers use the following factors to establish premises liability claims:

  • The defendant controlled the property. Was the property in the care of the person who caused the accident? For instance, did he or she own, lease, or live in the property where you got hurt? A personal injury lawyer investigates to determine which party had an obligation to maintain the property and warn others of foreseeable hazards.
  • The defendant was negligent. Next, attorneys need to establish the property owners’ negligence. Did they fail to perform regular inspections, post warnings, and fix dangerous issues? Proving that the defendant did not look after his or her responsibilities despite foreseeable hazards is crucial for a premises liability case in New York.
  • The defendant’s negligence caused your injury. Your injury must be due to the owner’s negligence. If the injury happened because of another factor or at another location, your claim would be invalid.

Each state has its own laws about premises liability. So, what applies to legal actions in other states might not apply to a New York case. As you may imagine, hiring a New York law firm with the right experience could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful local claim.

Get Your Questions Answered

What to do if you slip and fall a store? Or on a public property? How can you be sure what kind of legal claim you have? At Hill & Moin, our clients are like family. We offer New York residents free case evaluations. During your session, we can determine whether you have a premises liability or another negligence case. Call (212) 668-6000 at your earliest convenience to schedule an appointment.

Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day because getting in touch with us is urgent. Both premises liability and negligence claims are subject to a strict deadline set by the State of New York. If you hesitate too long after a personal injury incident, you could lose the opportunity to get extraordinary results.

As a New Yorker, pursuing your rights after a personal injury accident could secure your future and restore your peace of mind. Whether you have a negligence or premises liability claim on your hands, our legal team can lighten your load by implementing our Personal Injury Recovery SolutionsⓇ to get extraordinary results. Don’t wonder about your rights! Schedule your free consultation today.

Is Premises Liability Common Law?

July 20th, 2021 by

No matter where you look – billboards, TV commercials, or on the radio, there is never a shortage of ads for personal injury lawyers in New York. When we imagine personal injury cases, the first thing that may come to mind is motor vehicle accidents or similar incidents that result in severe injuries including paralysis, a loss of limbs, or death

In reality, the scope of personal injury claims is much larger, extending even to harm resulting from a hazard on someone else’s property. These claims are referred to as premises liability, which has largely been established by common law. Let’s discuss “common law” and take a closer look at premises liability cases and the series of laws that govern them. 

A Background On Premises Liability

When you are visiting a public or private property, it is only natural to act on the assumption that the area will be clear of hazards, well maintained and cared for. At the same time, it may be true that there are some potential hazards that cannot be removed completely. In any case, keep an eye out for warning signs that should be visible so you can avoid the dangers and keep safe.

The responsibility of property owners and managers is called a “duty of care” – meaning that they owe it to you to keep the property safe. A premises liability claim or lawsuit can be made if a property owner’s negligence (or perhaps the business owner, property manager, or another party – depending on the circumstances of the case) caused injuries to a guest or visitor to the property. 

The Difference Between Common Law and Statutory Law

Within the sphere of law, there are two fundamental parts: common law and statutory law. When thinking of the term “common law,” most likely the next word that comes to mind is “spouse.” In reality, though, common law refers to a set of laws that have come into existence through precedent – or previous rulings found in court that set the basis for future decisions. 

With that definition in mind, the term “common law marriage” makes sense. It is not a marriage in an official sense (being without a marriage license) but is recognized as a marriage in the eyes of the courts for certain cases. 

Statutory law, on the other hand, is a series of written laws passed by the legislature, otherwise known as legislation. These laws are well-established and pre-determined, rather than relying on a judge to set a legal precedent for future cases. 

Premises Liability Cases Are Usually Common Law Cases

As a general rule, “tort law,” which includes cases such as negligence, defamation, and personal injuries, falls under the category of common law. Instead of being a series of official, written laws, judges have (over time) constructed a number of rules and principles that govern these cases to hold individuals accountable for their actions that caused harm to someone else. 

Since premises liability cases generally fall under negligence, they are considered to be common law cases. However, there are some cases where the property owner has a statutory obligation to the victim. 

For example, municipalities generally have a Housing Code in effect to protect tenants. These Housing Codes are legally binding laws, and they include the responsibility of landlords to provide a safe living environment. If a landlord fails to meet the minimum standards put in place and this results in an injury, he or she is liable under the common law principle of premises liability, as well as the statutory law set out under the Housing Code. 

As seen, there are many nuances at play when dealing with common law cases. Lawyers who have experience with premises liability cases are well-versed in both common law and statutory law principles for the State of New York. 

Premises Liability Claims in New York

Take, for example, a common type of premises liability claim: slip-and-falls. These can happen for different reasons, on uneven walkways or defective steps. During the long winter months, snow and ice can pile up on sidewalks and walkways, increasing the danger of serious slips that can lead to injuries. People slip every day, but many do not seek medical attention for such embarrassing, seemingly minor mishaps.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls alone account for over 8 million trips to the emergency room in the United States each year, which represents the leading cause of ER visits. Of course, there are countless other injuries that do not result in an immediate visit to the hospital but may still require medical attention. Many people feel fine and fail to visit a doctor after what seemed to be a minor fall but start to feel the effects in the days or weeks that follow. 

Types of premises liability claims

While slip-and-falls may be the most common type of premises liability claims, personal injury lawyers see many different types of premises liability cases, including: 

How common law may apply

Of course, not all situations where someone is injured on public or private property are eligible for a premises liability claim. Since common law varies from state to state, the requirements to establish a case may vary by location. 

Common law principles require two factors to be true in order to successfully file a premises liability claim or lawsuit in New York:

  1. A condition or hazard on the property caused an injury
  2. The dangerous condition was foreseeable
  3. The liable party either caused the hazard, knew about it and did not fix it, or failed to provide appropriate warnings to avoid the hazard

When working on a premises liability case, personal injury lawyers build and analyze evidence to prove these claims and hold the right parties liable after an accident. 

When to File a Premises Liability Claim

Filing a premises liability claim with an insurance company or filing a personal injury lawsuit for damages is not often the first thought after suffering an injury on someone else’s property. The problem is, though, that the injuries suffered can cause a serious financial burden for the victim and impact his or her quality of life. 

In order to receive fair compensation for the physical and emotional damages caused by the accident, you should examine your legal options. A lawyer can determine whether your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence and what to do next. 

Many injury victims are not fully aware of the laws in New York surrounding premises liability, including who can be found liable, how it must be proven, and how much time the law allows for a case to be filed. It can help to have a “lawyer in the family,” as Hill & Moin has been described. A free, no-obligation consultation with our firm could be just what you need to understand your legal rights after an accident. 

What is a Premises Liability Complaint?

July 19th, 2021 by

As much as we would wish it to be otherwise, the homes we live in, the businesses we shop at, and the public areas we visit are not inherently free of danger. How many times has an uneven step or icy walk caused a near-miss or minor fall? 

These incidents are far too common, but thankfully, the majority of these do not result in serious injury. Rather, we may have laughed at the situation, maybe feeling slightly embarrassed and hoping nobody was nearby to witness the incident. 

Of course, the best way to prevent an accident in the first place is to fix the hazardous condition before someone gets hurt. Many cities have a process in place to report unsafe building conditions so they can be addressed and fixed. For example, in New York, a quality and safety report (also known as a premises liability complaint) can be completed online.

Let’s take a look at when to file a complaint, the claims process that may follow, and who can be held responsible after an injury on someone else’s property.

When Should a Quality or Safety Report Be Filed?

If you have noticed a potential hazard on a property, the first step to take is to talk to the owner or manager, who perhaps has not yet noticed the issue and may promptly fix the problem. On the other hand, if the landlord or property owner does not seem to take the issue seriously or does not take the needed steps to remove the hazard in a timely fashion, you can take further action.

A quality and safety report can be filed to make sure the issue is addressed. Depending on the seriousness of the safety issue, the owner will have time from 24 hours to up to 90 days to fix the problem. If the issue is not resolved within the appropriate time frame, the complaint remains on the property record. 

Unfortunately, though, one online government record shows that many buildings in New York have open safety reports which have not yet been fixed. It is no wonder then that hundreds of New Yorkers suffer an injury while visiting public or private property each year. When a person has been injured due to a safety hazard, filing a complaint may simply not be enough. 

The Premises Liability Claims Process

After an injury, a claim can be filed with the insurance company to recover the financial damages, such as medical bills or lost wages. In many cases, though, insurance companies deny a claim outright to save money.

A personal injury victim would be wise to hire an experienced lawyer for help. The first step the lawyer would take is to prepare a claim which explains the situation, including the negligence, injuries, and damages. Your legal claim will be much stronger if you have professional assistance.

This initial complaint could lead to a lawsuit if the insurance company is unwilling to offer fair compensation. In many of these cases, personal injury lawyers are able to receive a settlement for the victim before the lawsuit goes to court. Not only do premises liability claims allow the victim to receive compensation for his injuries, but they can also hold the at-fault party responsible for the damages their negligence caused. 

Who Can Be Held Responsible For Premises Liability Claims?

Understanding and proving fault after sustaining a personal injury on someone else’s property is not always straightforward. Of course, a potentially liable party may not be willing to accept responsibility for the accident and may try to point the blame elsewhere – including the victim himself. 

Depending on the situation, a premises liability case can lead to a personal lawsuit against the owner or a claim filed with the owner’s insurance company. 

When property owners are liable

In order to prove that the property owner is at fault for the injuries sustained on the property, it must be shown that the hazardous condition at the property caused the accident and that the owner was negligent. That means that either he or she knew about the hazard and did not fix it, or there were insufficient warnings in place to prevent a foreseeable accident. 

When property managers are liable

Certain companies are contracted to maintain a property. This may include keeping it clean and clear from tripping hazards, removing snow and ice, or performing other regular maintenance to ensure the safety of any tenants or visitors. If these individuals or companies do not fulfill their contractual obligation to properly maintain the property so it is free of foreseeable hazards, they may be liable for injuries in a premises liability case. 

When the municipality is liable

Not all injuries happen on private property. For example, while many sidewalks in New York are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner; some sidewalks are public property, making the maintenance and upkeep the responsibility of the municipality. 

When the municipal government is found to be at fault in a premises liability case, there are often special considerations and rules in place on how it may be sued for damages. Since these claims can be complex, many personal injury victims rely on the help of a qualified and experienced attorney to help them fight for a fair settlement. 

Premises Liability Complaints in New York

When property owners neglect to care for the proper upkeep and maintenance of their properties, they are putting fellow New York residents at risk. But we can prevent those risks from coming to fruition by reporting unsafe building conditions or other hazards – we can do our part to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. 

However, when an accident has taken place and someone has been injured due to negligence, the liable party should be held accountable for what happened. Premises liability cases allow the victim to recover fair compensation for his or her damages and show property owners that there are consequences when they fail to live up to their duty to the community.