For business, managing liabilities is critical for ensuring ongoing success of the enterprise, and this includes managing liabilities stemming from accidents occurring on business property. In order to avoid liability, it is important to have a clear understanding of how premises liability may attach to a business here in the state of New York. For those who are harmed understanding the law is important for assessing whether litigation is a valid possibility.

Premises liability claims generally fall under the banner of negligence claims. For businesses, premises liability pertains not only to injuries that may occur due to a dangerous condition, otherwise known as slip and fall cases, but other types of liabilities as well. That being said, slip and fall cases are probably the most common type of negligence claim.  In such cases, a plaintiff is required to show that there was the creation of a dangerous condition and that the business was aware of the dangerous condition. 

Two common slip and fall scenarios business can face are cases involving snow and ice on the sidewalk or parking lot leading up to a business and slippery surfaces caused by cleaners, polishes and wax. Businesses, under established law, have a reasonable amount of time to correct unsafe conditions caused by ice and snow. If black ice is involved, it is important to determine whether the business had notice of the unsafe condition caused by the ice. When a slippery surface is implicated, an important question is whether the business properly applied the cleaner, wax, or polish, or whether there was negligence in this matter.

Certain defenses are available to businesses depending on the circumstances. Defenses can come up, for instance, in cases where the plaintiff is unable to identify the cause of his or her fall, where there was no defect at issue, or where the defect was trivial or open and obvious to all.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at the issue of premises liability, and why it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney when pursuing such litigation as a plaintiff.