New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Is the Homeowner Responsible if You Slip and Fall on his Property  

Posted on Mar 15, 2015 in Slip and Fall

You have been invited to a party, and when you are walking around the homeowner’s property, you fall down and suffer a serious fracture. Now, the question is whether the homeowner is responsible for your injury.

What caused the fall?

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The home owner is responsible for the safety of his/her guests while they are on the property.

When a person is injured on somebody else’s property, one of the key questions is what was it that caused the fall. Was there a defect on the floor, or a hole that was covered with a carpet? Once you know the answer to what was it that actually caused the fall, the next important question is, did the homeowner know about this dangerous condition. Next, should the homeowner have taken steps to fix the dangerous condition before somebody was hurt?

Did the Homeowner Know about the Dangerous Condition?

In order to understand the situation, we have to identify whether the homeowner knew about the dangerous condition. This is called actual notice. Did somebody inform the homeowner about the dangerous condition before you got hurt? One of the ways the homeowner could have known about the dangerous condition.

However, what happens if the homeowner did not know about the dangerous condition and nobody had informed him about it. Then there is something called constructive notice, which means that the homeowner should have known that the dangerous condition existed on his property for a significant period, and he should have taken reasonable steps to fix the problem or certainly led anyone know about this unsafe area.

In many slip and fall cases, the defense will usually say that they had, no clue about the problem, they had not noticed it during the course of their daily work, and nobody informed them about the dangerous condition. Therefore, they are not responsible to fix something that they did not know about.

Sample Scenario

Let us take a scenario, where there is an open hole on somebody’s property. The homeowner puts a piece of plywood over it, as a temporary measure, and then does not do anything to fill in the hole. Additionally, the homeowner does not take any steps to block off the area or put a notice to alert people about the danger. If the plywood has deteriorated and someone walking on the property inadvertently steps on it, falls down, and suffers significant injury. Can the homeowner be held responsible for what occurred?

In this scenario, the homeowner knew about the hole, since he had placed a piece of plywood over it. Secondly, he was expected to know that plywood could deteriorate over time, and he did not take any steps for a permanent solution.

No Warning!

Therefore, it was an existing hazard on his property, and he did not take any steps to alert people about the danger, by putting a barrier or a warning sign. Therefore, in this case, it will be easy to show to the jury that the homeowner knew about the issue, did not repair the problem, and did not barricade the area or alert people about the dangerous condition. It will obvious the jury that the homeowner should have taken reasonable steps to fix the problem in a timely fashion, and therefore he should be held liable for the person’s injuries.

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