When Are Property Owners Responsible for Personal Injuries?

Personal injuries can occur on other people’s properties for many different reasons. When the injury results from the property owner’s negligence (or the negligence of the property renter or anyone else responsible for the premises), the injured party may be eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit. Yet it is important to understand that property owners are not always responsible for any and all injuries that occur on their property. In order for that property owner to be responsible for damages, the property owner’s negligence must have caused the injuries.

If you want to find out more about your ability to file a premises liability lawsuit, you should seek advice from a Rochester personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case. In the meantime, the following information can tell you more about the circumstances in which property owners can be responsible for personal injuries.

Property Owner (or Renter) Must Have Been Negligent

To file a successful premises liability lawsuit in Upstate New York, you must be able to prove specific elements of the claim. The New York Pattern Jury Instructions explain the elements that must be shown in order for an injured person to be awarded damages in a premises liability lawsuit. Those elements include the following:

  • Premises were not in a reasonably safe condition;
  • Conditions resulted from the defendant’s negligence; and
  • Property conditions caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

What does negligence mean in these circumstances? In general, a property owner (or a renter or manager) has a duty to keep the premises in a condition that is reasonably safe. Failure to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, or to warn about risks on the property, can result in the property owner being liable for injuries caused by the hazardous condition.

Common Situations in Which a Property Owner is Liable for Injuries on the Premises

When can a property owner be liable for injuries? The following are common situations in which a property may be responsible for damages resulting from an injury on the premises:

  • Dangerous condition led to a slip and fall accident;
  • Property owner failed to repair a hazardous condition in or around the swimming pool, and a drowning accident resulted from that hazardous condition;
  • Property owner failed to protect children from an “attractive nuisance” on the property, and a child wandered onto the property and was injured by an attractive nuisance;
  • Property owner failed to take precautions to prevent a foreseeable injury caused by a third party, such as an assault in a dimly lit parking lot or an attack in a hotel room with a broken door lock;
  • Business owner failed to repair an elevator or escalator that was not working properly due to a defect, and a person suffered an injury due to that defect (in a case like this, the product maker of the elevator or the escalator could also be liable); or
  • Animal on the premises attacked a visitor, such as a dog bite injury.

In many circumstances in which an injury occurs on somebody else’s property, that property owner can be responsible for the full amount of damages. There are exceptions to note, however. For example, if an injured person is also partially at fault for their own injuries, then the damages award can be reduced by the percentage of the injury victim’s fault according to New York comparative fault law.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Rochester About Your Premises Liability Lawsuit

You should remember that an experienced personal injury attorney at our firm will do everything we can to prove that the property owner is fully liable for your injuries and that you did not play a role in causing the accident. To learn more about filing a claim, contact King Law today.


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