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FAQs About Trip-and-Fall Injury Cases
Our Syracuse trip-and-fall injury lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of trip-and-fall victims. Here are the most common questions we get from our clients about this kind of case, along with our answers:
- Is the Property Owner Automatically Liable for My Injuries If I Trip and Fall on His Property?
- How do I Prove the Owner of the Property Was Negligent in Causing My Trip-and-Fall Accident?
- How do I Prove the Owner Liable for My Trip-and-Fall in a Store?
- Does the Owner of the Property Have to Warn Me of a Trip-and-Fall Hazard?
- What if I Tripped and Fell on a Public Sidewalk or Street?
- Why are There so Many Ways of Proving the Owner of the Property "Negligent" in Trip-and-Fall Cases?
No. Just because you tripped and fell on someone's or some company's property does not make them legally responsible. You have to prove the reason you fell was due to their negligence. New York trip-and-fall injury attorneys, whether here in the Syracuse area or anywhere in New York, refer to this as "proving negligence".
Essentially, your New York Trip-and-fall lawyer, whether in the Syracuse area or elsewhere in New York, will have to prove that the owner - or whoever controlled the property (such as a commercial tenant) - failed to take reasonable steps to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. The trip-and-fall hazard must be such that it caused the property to not be reasonably safe.
If the trip-and-fall was caused by some kind of tripping hazard in the aisles of a store, you have to prove that the owner or its employees either created the trip-and-fall hazard, or that, if someone else (such as a customer in a store), created it (for example, by leaving merchandise he was looking at in the aisle), you have to show that a sufficient period of time elapsed since the hazard was created so that the owner, through reasonable inspections, should have discovered and removed the hazard.
Yes. Sometimes the owner of the property can't actually remove the trip hazard completely - for example, if an employee is restocking and has to leave some items in the aisle temporarily. When that happens, the owner must warn customers of the hazard by placing cones or yellow hazard tap around the area. If the owner fails to do so - or fails to install the cones or yellow tape, the owner can be held liable.
If you tripped and fell on a Municipal sidewalk or street (belonging to a city, village, town, etc.), depending on the local municipal code, you may have a tough time proving your case against the municipality. Many municipal codes in New York require that the city, village or town have had "written notice" of the tripping hazard beforehand. If the municipality did not have written notice of the problem, they are off the hook and can't be held liable for the trip-and-fall accident unless the municipality affirmatively created the trip-and-fall hazard. This is a very tricky area of law, and you need to be especially careful to hire a good New York trip-and-fall accident lawyer to investigate whether the municipality can be held liable.
There are many different circumstances causing trip hazard conditions, and thus there are many ways of proving the owner was negligent in causing them. But what ties all these different ways of proving negligence together is this: The owner has to make reasonable efforts to keep the property reasonably safe. If you can show the owner did not do that, and you fell as a result, you have proved liability. You can prove this by showing he created the hazard, or failed to inspect the store aisles for tripping hazards on a regular basis, or failed to remove the tripping hazard in a timely manner, or failed to place proper warnings, or in many other manners.
If you think you might have a trip-and-fall case in New York State, don't hesitate to contact the Syracuse trip-and-fall injury attorneys at Michaels & Smolak for a free consultation.