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Important Laws Related to Slip and Fall Accidents in Brooklyn, NY

May 3, 2019 Slip and Fall

Have you or a loved one been injured in a slip and fall accident in Brooklyn, NY? Did you sustain severe injuries after tripping and falling on someone else’s property?

If this is the case, you have the right to sue the parties responsible for your accident and get your rightful damages.

An experienced slip and fall injury attorney in Brooklyn can help you receive financial damages, including lost wages and medical bills.

Slip, trip, and fall accidents in Brooklyn, NY, rely on negligence law i.e. the plaintiff needs to establish that the accident occurred due to the negligence of property owner or caretaker.

Also, Brooklyn has a 3-year statute of limitation on slip and fall accident cases, so the sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the better.

Things to keep in mind before filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit in Brooklyn, NY

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These accidents are very common in places where there is plenty of foot traffic (such as grocery stores), or where liquids may spill on the floor. Slipping or tripping may not sound particularly dangerous but it can cause life-altering injuries all the same.

In most cases, the plaintiff (you) doesn’t have to deal with the owner of the property where the accident occurred. Instead, the insurance company of property owner handles the case from their end.

As most people know, insurance companies do their best to make sure they don’t have to pay. They will scrutinize your every action, bringing up any warnings you may have ignored. In other words, they will try every tactic in their books to pin this accident on you.

That’s why it is so important to have a skilled and tenacious lawyer on your side. In fact, don’t even talk to the insurance adjuster without your lawyer present!

Also, make sure that you file an accident report immediately after your accident. Even though it’s not mandatory under Brooklyn law, most business policies require this.

If you fail to file the report, at least record as much information about your accident as possible, such as:

  • Where exactly did the accident occur
  • What caused the accident (for example, any liquid spills, etc)
  • Whether any witnesses were present at the time of the accident

Are there any specific laws that impact a slip and fall accident case in Brooklyn, NY?

When filing a claim, you can go two ways – you can either file the claim directly with the property owner’s insurance company or you can take the matter to court in Brooklyn.

In both cases, there are several legal rules and laws that cover premises liability cases. However, the two most specific laws include the deadline for filing a lawsuit and the shared fault rules.

In Brooklyn, the personal injury cases fall under the ‘comparative negligence’. If your case goes to trial, the rule of comparative negligence determines the amount of financial award you can recover from the property owner if the jury finds you (the plaintiff) were negligent.

Before filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit related to your slip-and-fall accident, it is important for you to understand that the property owner may argue that you (the plaintiff) were also partially responsible for the accident.

These are a few examples to give you a picture of what the property owner may argue:

  • That you were in the area of the property where visitors are strictly prohibited
  • That you were not paying attention to where you were walking
  • That you ignored the cones and signage or any other clear warnings that were in place so the visitors will be aware of the dangerous condition

If they are successful in establishing your responsibility, the court may decide to reduce your financial award significantly.

Other than comparative negligence, there is a statute of limitations that is considered crucial when filing a personal injury claim in Brooklyn. It specifies a clear time limit you have where your lawsuit can be heard in the civil system. If you fail to meet the deadline, the court will dismiss your case.

We cannot stress this enough – you must file the claim as soon as possible once you have sustained injuries on someone else’s property. You have a maximum of 3 years from the date of the accident to file your slip-and-fall accident claim.

Also, remember that your entire case relies heavily on negligence. You must be able to prove that:

  • The property owner was negligent in their maintenance practices,
  • They should have known about the dangerous condition that caused the accident
  • They should have taken corrective measures, or failed to take corrective measures even though they knew about the condition.

Are there any special time limits for slip-and-fall lawsuits against government organizations?

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What happens when you slip, trip and fall on a property owned by the government? What if you can prove that their negligence caused the accident?

When you intend to file a lawsuit against the government, there are a different set of rules involved. Brooklyn, NY, has provided specific protections to towns, cities, and government that are faced with personal injury lawsuits.

If you have decided to sue the government agency or government itself, the first thing you must do is serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident.

The recipient of the notice has 90 days (after receiving the Notice of Claim) to request a medical examination of the injured plaintiff or 30 days to request a pre-action hearing. The pre-action hearing is very similar to an interview and it is conducted in the office representing the government agency.

If you intend to sue a municipality in Brooklyn, you have 1 year and 90 days to file the lawsuit. We recommend hiring a proficient lawyer immediately after your fall accident.

What are premises liabilities laws regarding sidewalks in Brooklyn?

A good number of slip and fall accidents occur due to defective sidewalks in Brooklyn, NY. Before 2003, sidewalk falls in Brooklyn placed no liability on property owners or tenants.

This made it really difficult to recover compensation and injured victims were forced to file a lawsuit against the government.

However, the city changed the law regarding liability for poorly maintained sidewalks in 2003. Under the new regulations, lessees, commercial landowners and residential owners are now considered responsible for making sure the sidewalks in front and adjacent to their property are properly maintained.

So, if your fall accident occurred on a defective sidewalk, and you intend to sue the responsible party, you have a much direct path to file the claim.

How to prove actual or constructive knowledge?

As you can imagine, it is pretty difficult to prove that the property owner had prior knowledge of the hazardous condition because this requires proving that the property owner solely possesses the said premises.

Fortunately, the courts will accept proof whether it is actual knowledge or even constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.

When the property owner admits having knowledge of the dangerous condition, actual knowledge is established.

However, if you can prove that the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition prior to your fall, constructive knowledge can be established.

In cases of a structural defect, it is easier to prove the prior knowledge of the dangerous condition because the defect has usually existed for a long period of time. For example, if you slipped and fell because there was no railing on the staircase, the property owner cannot deny that they had no prior knowledge.

On the other hand, if you slipped and fell on a liquid spill in a mall, it can be challenging to prove prior knowledge since the condition may have occurred just seconds before your fall.

In most cases, the property owner will argue that they did not have sufficient time to fix/repair the dangerous condition.

For example, if you filed a lawsuit after slipping on snow during or immediately after a snowfall, the property owner will be successful in arguing that there wasn’t enough time to correct the condition.

Did the property owner fail to fix the dangerous condition prior to your slip-and-fall accident?

Last but not least, you have to prove that the owner of the property failed to correct the perilous condition prior to your fall. The mere fact that the accident occurred is usually sufficient to establish this.

But there are cases when the property owner has made plenty of attempts to fix the condition and was still unable to completely solve it.

For example, a landowner is not required to clean every bit of ice and snow from their premises. If the owner can show that they took numerous precautions to make the property as safe as possible, they may not be considered liable for your injuries.

Personal injury cases, especially the slip-and-fall accident cases can tough to establish. The best thing you can do is to take plenty of high-quality pictures and/or video to document the condition and fill out an accident report.

Then you should get in touch with a reliable personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a case.

Contacting an attorney as soon as possible can mean the difference between winning and losing your accident case in Brooklyn.

Your attorney will take necessary steps such as inspecting the property and taking witness statements to establish your case. They will also serve legal notice to the property owner to preserve the evidence like surveillance footage from CCTV cameras on the premises (if applicable).

What compensation is available in slip-and-fall accident cases in Brooklyn, NY?

In the case of a premises liability lawsuit, the injured victims can receive several types of financial compensation, such as:

Medical expenses

Slipping and falling can result in serious physical trauma and force you to undergo several expensive medical procedures. Even if you have insurance, the large medical bills will prove to be financially taxing.

If you win the lawsuit, you will be able to recover any medical costs related to your injury, including medicines, tests, surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.

Lost wages

Depending on how severe your injuries are, you may be forced to skip work for a long period of time. In some cases, victims are permanently disabled and can no longer go to work.

Losing your ability to earn a livelihood and support your family can be emotionally traumatic, not to mention it can financially cripple you.

If your lawyer successfully proves that your injuries were caused due to the negligence of the property owner, you will be able to recover current as well as future lost wages.

Pain and Suffering

In addition to medical bills and lost wages, you may also receive an award for any long-term pain and emotional suffering due to the accident. This compensation includes:

  • Bodily and physical pain (any/all types)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Temporary or permanent physical deformities caused by the injury

Wrongful death

If your loved one has succumbed to their injuries from the accident, you (a family member) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This way, you might be able to receive compensation for:

  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Financial loss including lost wages
  • The financial value of the loss of parental guidance (if you lose a parent)
  • The financial value of the loss of a spouse (if you lose your spouse)

Call Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at RMFW Law to Receive Maximum Compensation

As we mentioned before, slip, trip and fall cases are quite complex and establishing the negligence of the property owner can be difficult to accomplish on your own.

If you want to make sure you win the slip-and-fall accident lawsuit and get the best financial compensation for your troubles, you must seek a competent personal injury lawyer in Brooklyn, NY.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff& Wolff, our lawyers will:

  • Thoroughly investigate your claims and review the case particulars
  • Identify the responsible parties
  • Take photographs and/or video to record the scene of the accident
  • Review your medical records
  • File your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out
  • Handle trial and mediation (if necessary)

In short, we are highly meticulous and take every possible step to pursue the maximum financial reward for you. In our 96+ years of experience, we have represented over 30,000 personal injury victims and received over $1 billion in damages.

If that doesn’t tell you about our due diligence capabilities, we don’t know what will.

Our lawyers understand the complexities of personal injury laws like the back of their hands. We have the best resources at our disposal – including investigators and medical experts –to help you seek an award you deserve.

Best of all, we operate on a contingency fee basis, i.e., we don’t charge any legal fees until and unless we win!

What are you waiting for? Call us at 212-697-9280 or fill out our contact form to talk to our slip-and-fall accident lawyers in Brooklyn, NY, today.