In Buffalo Personal Injury Blog, Featured Article, Slip & Fall

Each year, slip and fall incidents lead to approximately 300,000 disabling injuries and 17,000 accidental deaths. Many of those occur because of lack of care on the part of a property owner or manager.

To be successful with an injury claim, your slip & fall attorney must prove that an unsafe condition existed on the premises, the owner created the condition; OR the owner or manager knew or should have known that the condition existed; OR there was enough time for either proper warning signs to be posted or for the condition to be repaired prior to the fall, but no one did so.

There are many causes of a slip and fall injury:

    • Ice or snow on sidewalks and entrance ways
    • Faulty railings
    • Debris or equipment left out on a construction site
    • Unexpected changes in floor level
    • Poor lighting conditions

Slip and Fall on Faulty Steps1. Slip and Fall on Faulty Steps

Stairs can become loose planks of rotten wood, or chunks of concrete from the freezing and thawing of the winter.  When stairs are not constructed properly, the rise or run of the step will not be up to code.  In these situations, a person would expect to have a secured footing going from one step to another, and instead experience a serious hazard on the stairway, resulting in injury.

Summary: 

  • Loose planks, rotted wood, or broken concrete are examples of faulty steps
  • Stairs may not have been constructed properly, and are not up to code
  • One may unfortunately experience a serious injury in an environment where they should be safe and secure

Slip and Fall on a Residential or Business Property2. Slip and Fall on a Residential or Business Property

If you slip and fall on a commercial or residential property, their insurance allows you to be compensated for any injuries you might sustain. This is called a general proposition premise liability case. In a slip and fall case we must show that the person responsible for taking care of the property did not.

The first thing that we need to show is that the individual knew there was a defective condition on the property and failed to fixed it. This requires me to show knowledge on the part of someone who is in charge, and that can be very difficult.

The other thing that we can show is that they knew that there was a defect in the property. And that is when we need to show that the defect existed for a period.  This happens a lot when establishments are putting signs up, where there is a dangerous condition that’s causing injury to an individual. Once we can show one of these factors, then the insurance company for the establishment would step in, to try to resolve these cases.

Summary: 

  • New York State law allows you to be compensated for an injuries you may receive under these circumstances, which turns into a premises liability case
  • In order for an effective case, the owner of the property had to have known of the defective property, and failed to fix it
  • The owner, in general, needs to have known of the property damage, or may have created the condition for a good case
  • An example of a situation where someone created a dangerous situation on their property is not putting up a wet floor sign where needed

Injured by Slipping on Ice or Snow3. Injured by Slipping on Ice or Snow

There are many issues that need to be address in slip and fall cases on ice or snow. The most important issue obviously is what the climatological conditions were like at the time when the person slip and fell. Most importantly, it’s for us to determine whether the condition existed for a certain period of time.

Just like all premise liability cases, we’re in a position where we must show that the owner or the person who has responsibility over the premises knew of the problem that was existing on the property. Now, how do we show that? We can show that people knew by the fact that they walked over the property themselves, we do that by the climatological data.

That climatological data includes things as weather report, or things from the national weather service. We hire experts and that expert will come in and tell us how long the condition existed. For example, if there is a change in precipitation, change in temperature, or things along that nature, we would have that analyzed by the expert and will testify on our case in that regard.

Summary:

  • It is important to know what the weather was like at the time of the accident
  • Attorneys need to prove that the property owner knew of the conditions at the time of the fall
  • Weather reports and meteorologists can prove how long the weather conditions existed for

Injured Due to a Faulty Hand Rail4. Injured Due to a Faulty Hand Rail

The most prominent issues that we deal with from faulty hand railings are when people are walking up and down stairs. Hand railings are put into place to provide stabilization for people who are using stairways.

Oftentimes people are falling or trip and use the hand rail that are loose or defective, the hand rail will not provide that type of stabilization and causes the person to fall. In those situations, we need to show that the owner of the premises or the person responsible for the premises should have known of the defective condition. Oftentimes, that comes into play when we interview past renters of the same property for example. We can also do that by showing a decay in the hand railings themselves, because decay in the hand railing does not happen overnight, and we hire experts to come in that regard.

The other issue in respect to handrails is when there is no handrail there at all. Certain codes in states, towns, cities require that there’d be hand railings in certain situations and in the event, that those hand railings are not put into place then its evidence of negligence on behalf of the owner of the premises.

Summary:

  • Handrails are meant for stabilization for those using stairways
  • Attorneys need evidence to prove that the property owner was aware of this defective condition
  • Decaying in the handrail itself, along with no handrail being in place to begin with can prove to be a problem
  • Codes in towns and cities require a handrail to be in place with a stairway, and can be a sign of negligence

Tripping Hazards5. Tripping Hazards

From a home owner or property owner’s perspective and the victim of the fall, when confronted with a tripping hazard during dangerous conditions can cause very serious injuries. There can be things such as cables, wires, poles, natural hazards, roots, fallen tree branches or things that occur in terrain. Other tripping hazards are man-made, some are created, and some accrue overtime.

For example, water seepage over a sidewalk that can lift up to a condition where it’s dangerous. You can have structures that have shifted because of freezing and thawing. A tripping hazard in general is any type of structure or item that is not where it’s supposed to be, either it’s elevated, seeping out of the ground, on a constructions site, or even at a home on the backyard like garden tools, or things that are stacked up.

Tripping hazards are a general way of saying, these items are dangerous to people who are passing by and if you fall victim to something that should have been cleaned up or fixed then we may be able to have a claim for you and for your personal injury medical bills that was a result from a tripping hazard.

Summary: 

  • Tripping hazards can cause serious injuries
  • Tripping hazards can be man-made, such as cables, wires, and poles
  • Other hazards can be natural, such as roots or water seepage under a sidewalk
  • They are a general way of stating that items or messes are in a place where they are not supposed to be

If you have been injured due to a slip and fall by another person’s negligence, contact our dedicated Personal Injury Attorneys in Buffalo NY.

Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC
The Personal Injury and Accident Lawyers at Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC will fight for you & your family if you’re injured or disabled in Western New York. Call (716) 842-2200 to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Buffalo injury attorney.
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