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What is a Premises Liability Complaint?
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.