Personal Injury Law Firm In NYC

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Slip And Fall Accidents
Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs And Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP

SLIP AND FALL LAWYERS NYC

Slip & Fall Accidents

At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP, our slip and fall lawyers in NYC are experienced in protecting the rights of clients who have been seriously injured or killed on public or private property. Business owners, landlords and private property owners have a duty to provide safe and secure premises for their guests. When an owner neglects to repair or warn guests of a hazardous area on their property, they may be liable for any injuries that result.

Individuals who have suffered a slip and fall injury due to a property owner's negligence may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup compensation for any damages incurred. Our slip and fall lawyers have handled countless cases for individuals who have suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents, as well as trip and fall incidents. We have secured a number of verdicts and settlements through slip and fall lawsuits, including numerous recoveries exceeding $1 million.*

What Are Some Common Types Of Slip And Fall Accidents?

Fall down accidents are amongst the most common cases that exist in the field of personal injury law. Our NYC slip and fall lawyers have handled so many variations of slip/trip and fall accident cases that they are too numerous to mention. Some accidents that our firm has handled include sidewalk falls, slip and falls from snow or ice and trip and falls.

Sidewalk Falls

Sidewalk Falls

When New York City sidewalks are unmaintained, they pose a serious threat to all of the residents of that neighborhood. Individuals who have suffered serious injuries following a trip and fall on a New York City sidewalk may face significant economic hardships, such as lost wages or high medical bills uncovered by insurance. As a result, residents who have suffered injuries in a fall on an unmaintained sidewalk may be entitled to recoup compensation for any damages incurred.

What Are Some Common Causes Of Sidewalk Falls?

In many instances, a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk that causes an injury is the result of another individual or entity’s negligence. There are many variations of negligently-caused sidewalk accidents. Some factors that can cause sidewalk falls include:

  • Cracks or holes on sidewalks
  • Broken sidewalks
  • Uneven or raised sidewalk flags
  • Dangerously sloped sidewalks
  • Objects negligently placed or left on the sidewalk by persons or businesses
  • The roots of trees, which can cause disruption of the sidewalk
  • Snow or ice on sidewalks
  • Hazardous conditions on sidewalks caused by the “special use” of a sidewalk. An example of a special use of a sidewalk is cutting out a portion of the walkway for the purpose of planting trees, bushes or other landscaping features; this is considered a special use of the sidewalk because something has been done to the sidewalk to beautify it. The work, if not done properly, can lead to slip and fall accidents and serious injuries.

All of the above can occur on either public or private sidewalks. As for public sidewalks owned by the City of New York, responsibility may lie with the City, but the law also places duties and obligations on the landowner who owns and operates the property adjacent to the sidewalk where the defective condition existed. This burden is especially true in the case of stores, businesses and other commercial establishments who operate a business which adjoins a City sidewalk. Such entities have certain duties under the law to keep the sidewalks in front of their premises in a reasonably safe condition.

What Constitutes A Negligently Maintained Sidewalk?

Pursuant to the New York City Administrative Code, it is the duty of the owner of real property adjacent to any sidewalk to ensure it is kept in a reasonably safe condition. The failure to reasonably maintain a sidewalk can leave the owner of the adjacent property liable for any injury that occurs due to the sidewalk's deteriorating condition. A failure to maintain a sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition includes but is not limited to:

  • The negligent failure to properly install a sidewalk near the property
  • The negligent failure to reconstruct a walkway once it becomes defective or unstable
  • Negligently failing to repave sidewalks that are cracked
  • Failure to repair any defects
  • Not replacing defective sidewalk flags
  • Failure to remove snow, ice, dirt or other materials from the sidewalk

Who Is Liable If The Fall Happened On A Sidewalk Adjacent To A Commercial Property?

In New York City, which includes the 5 boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, the adjacent or abutting landowner is responsible for maintaining sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition and free of the substantial defects described above. The maintenance of New York City sidewalks that are adjacent to the commercial property is the responsibility of the real land owner. This includes but is not limited to sidewalks in New York City that abut and are located adjacent to:

  • Office buildings such as single-tenant properties
  • Small professional buildings
  • Skyscrapers
  • Medical facilities
  • Hotels
  • Retail stores
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Restaurants
  • Strip malls
  • Shopping centers
  • Warehouses
  • Parking lots
  • Gas stations
  • Vacant and unimproved land
  • Multi-family residential dwellings

If you are injured as a result of a dangerous, defective and unsafe sidewalk that is located adjacent to these kinds of properties, the abutting real property owner is the responsible party.

Can The City Of New York Be Liable In Sidewalk Fall Cases?

Oftentimes the City of New York, as opposed to an abutting real property owner, is the responsible entity for maintaining and keeping sidewalks in good and safe repair throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The City of New York is responsible for maintaining sidewalks located adjacent to a 1, 2 or 3 family residential property that is either entirely or partly owner-occupied, used exclusively for residential purposes and contains 3 or less apartment units. Additionally, for the City of New York to be liable, these residential buildings can serve no commercial purpose whatsoever. If all of the aforementioned is true, then it is the City's responsibility to properly maintain the adjacent sidewalks. Individuals who have suffered an injury slipping and falling on a walkway next to a building that meets the aforementioned residential requirements may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the City for any monetary damages they may have suffered.

In order to be successful in a claim or lawsuit against the City of New York for its failure to maintain a sidewalk, it is also necessary to prove that the sidewalk was not reasonably safe. If the sidewalk was broken, cracked, depressed, improperly sloped and/or raised causing a trip hazard; and/or contained any of the enumerated substantial defects as listed in the New York City Administrative Code, then it is considered dangerous, defective and unsafe. In order to be successful in a case against the City of New York for its failure to properly maintain a sidewalk, it is also necessary to prove that the defect or dangerous condition that caused your accident was created by the City of New York or that they had received actual written notice of the defective nature of the sidewalk before the accident occurred. A slip and fall lawyer who specializes in NYC sidewalk fall accidents can best determine whether or not the City of New York was properly put on written notice of the dangerous condition that caused your accident.

What Should I Do If I Experience A Sidewalk Fall?

Following a sidewalk accident, it is very important to contact an NYC slip and fall lawyer who litigates sidewalk fall cases as soon as possible. If the City of New York is determined to be the entity responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, the law requires that they be put on notice of your accident within 90 days of its occurrence. The law requires that a document called a notice of claim be filed with the City of New York. The notice of claim must be in writing, sworn to or by or on behalf of the individual bringing the claim and shall set forth (1) his or her name, address and attorney; (2) the nature of the claim or accident; (3) the time when, the place where and the manner in which the claim or accident arose; and (4) the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained. The filing of a timely notice of claim is a condition precedent to bringing or filing a lawsuit against the City of New York. The failure to correctly and timely file a notice of claim can be devastating to your case and bar you from bringing a lawsuit against the City of New York for their failure to properly and safely maintain the sidewalk that caused your accident.

New York City Administrative Code Sidewalk Rules

The City of New York has enacted laws regarding the duty of commercial property owners for the safe and proper maintenance of their adjacent sidewalks. New York City Administrative Code § 7-210 - Liability Of Real Property Owner For Failure To Maintain Sidewalk In A Reasonably Safe Condition sets forth the duties and responsibilities of commercial property owners in New York City, in relevant part:

"a. It shall be the duty of the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk, including but not limited to, the intersection quadrant for corner property, to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.

b. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk, including but not limited to, the intersection quadrant for corner property, shall be liable for any injury to property or personal injury, including death, proximately caused by the failure of such owner to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition shall include, but not be limited to, the negligent failure to install, construct, reconstruct, repave, repair or replace defective sidewalk flags and the negligent failure to remove snow, ice, dirt or other material from the sidewalk. This subdivision shall not apply to one-, two- or three-family residential real property that is (i) in whole or in part, owner-occupied, and (ii) used exclusively for residential purposes.

c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the city shall not be liable for any injury to property or personal injury, including death, proximately caused by the failure to maintain sidewalks (other than sidewalks abutting one-, two- or three-family residential real property that is (i) in whole or in part, owner-occupied, and (ii) used exclusively for residential purposes) in a reasonably safe condition. This subdivision shall not be construed to apply to the liability of the city as a property owner pursuant to subdivision b of this section."

Premises Liability Laws In New York City Regarding Sidewalk Falls

Many of the slip and fall injuries that occur in New York are the result of defective sidewalks. Prior to 2003, sidewalk falls in New York City placed zero liability on owners or lessees of property. As a result, recovering compensation for seriously injured individuals was problematic as individuals were forced to file suit against the City of New York. In 2003, however, the City changed the law regarding liability for defective sidewalks. Under the new law, commercial landowners, lessees and some residential owners are now responsible for maintaining the sidewalks in front and adjacent to their property. As a result, individuals who have fallen and suffered serious injuries on defective sidewalks now have a clearer path to receiving the compensation they may deserve. Our slip and fall lawyers in NYC have been litigating premises liability cases for decades; our personal injury firm can help victims of slip and fall accidents recoup damages suffered due to another’s negligence.

Snow And Ice Falls

Snow And Ice Falls

Property owners doing business adjacent to sidewalks have a duty and responsibility to clear the snow or ice on the sidewalk in front of their premises with reasonable care, within a reasonable period of time. Upon failure to do this, serious fall down accidents often occur. Liability or fault, or in other words the issue of whether the business or landowner is negligent, often hinges upon how much time has elapsed between the time of the weather (snow, ice or other precipitation) that leads to the hazardous condition, and the time that the area was cleaned or cleared. The clearance of snow and ice might take place by the use of salt, shovels, snow machines or other means. The key to liability rests on the issue of the timing of when the area is cleared, and whether it was done with reasonable care under the circumstances. Although injuries from sidewalk falls are common, they certainly only scratch the surface of the circumstances under which a person can sustain a serious injury due to a fall caused by another person or entity.

What Are Some Common Injuries Caused By Snow And Ice Falls?

All snow or ice-related falls have the potential to result in serious injuries and damages, especially in instances where the victims are elderly. Some of the most common snow and ice injuries that result in premises liability lawsuits include:

  • Broken bones
  • Leg injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Concussions

The aforementioned injuries, however, are not in and of themselves grounds for a lawsuit. In order to have a valid lawsuit, the fall must have resulted in either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are any medical costs not covered by insurance. Non-economic damages are any long-term emotional stress or pain and suffering caused by the injury.

Who Is Liable If A Fall Is Caused By Snow Or Ice?

An accident caused by the presence of snow and ice often occurs on private property or New York City sidewalks. When an accident occurs on private property, the landowner and/or tenant may be legally responsible for your injury. If the accident occurred on a sidewalk, then the owner of the property adjacent and next to the sidewalk may be liable.

The issue of whether liability or fault can be proven against the defendant in your case often depends on the issue of "notice." In other words, was there enough time between when it snowed or when ice formed and the time of your accident to be able to prove that the responsible party knew or should have known of the snow, ice or slippery condition and cleared the property prior to the time that your accident happened. In order to prove notice or that the defendant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition prior to your accident, there are numerous details that must be carefully investigated by your slip and fall attorney and dealt with properly during the "discovery" phase of your slip and fall case.

It is important to note when the poor weather that caused your slip and fall occurred. Weather reports can often be obtained to determine how much and what type of precipitation (rain, sleet or snow) fell on the day of your accident and on the days before your accident. The records should be obtained from the weather station closest to the accident location, and a certified copy of such records may be needed for admissibility purposes in the event that your case goes to trial. If the condition that caused your accident still exists, photographs should be taken whenever possible. Also, an investigation should be done to determine the identity of any eyewitnesses to the conditions that were present at the time of your accident. Such witnesses may be helpful at trial, or in laying the foundation for settling your case through deposition testimony regarding the dangerous conditions.

As the litigation proceeds, your NYC slip and fall lawyer will have the opportunity to take the deposition of one or more representatives of the defendant property owner or property tenant. In some instances, a deposition is taken of a representative of a management company for the property. At this point, the issue of notice (i.e., what the defendant knew and when they knew it) is further investigated. A good slip and fall attorney will do a full interrogation regarding many factors that may be crucial to proving liability or fault in your case. These include but are not limited to finding out information regarding the following:

  • The identities of any and all employees or agents of the defendant who had the opportunity to observe and/or become aware of the dangerous conditions.
  • The identities of any persons whose job responsibilities included monitoring, inspecting or cleaning the accident location, including but not limited to the responsibility of clearing the relevant area of snow and ice.
  • Any schedules that were in effect and any practice or procedure that the property owner or other defendant followed for inspecting or cleaning the property.
  • Any records that exist regarding any of the above, as well as any records that exist regarding actual steps that were taken to clear the dangerous area of snow and/or ice prior to your accident.
  • If the defendant claims they actually did take steps to clear the sidewalk, questions need to be answered regarding the manner in which it is claimed that the sidewalk was cleared. For example, what equipment was allegedly used to clear the sidewalk? Was a snowplow or other machinery used? Were manual methods to clear the sidewalk (such as the use of snow shovels or salting of the sidewalk) employed? If so, who did this and when?

The above examples represent just a few of the numerous issues that will be addressed by an experienced slip and fall lawyer. There is rarely the situation of a simple, straightforward or easy slip and fall case.

What Is A “Transient” Condition?

A slip and fall on snow or ice (or on anything else for that matter) usually involves a fall that occurred due to what is known as a "transient" condition. In other words, the condition was there, but it may now be gone. As a result, defendants take every opportunity to deny liability. The property owner or tenant may defend your lawsuit by claiming that the dangerous or defective condition never existed in the first place. Alternatively, the defendant may argue that even if the condition did exist, they did not know about it in time and could not have exercised reasonable care and fixed the condition prior to your accident. Of course, the defendant may also claim that your accident did not happen at all, or that your serious injuries are somehow unrelated to the accident. There is no shortage of claims or defenses that may be set forth by a party to try to avoid liability for causing serious injury in a slip and fall accident. Therefore, it is imperative to have a highly-qualified and experienced slip and fall lawyer in NYC represent you if you have been seriously injured due to a slip and fall on snow or ice.

Trip And Falls

Trip And Falls

When an individual suffers a trip and fall injury, the consequences are potentially devastating. A trip and fall can cause an individual to suffer physical harm, such as broken bones and brain injuries. These injuries can force victims and their families to endure a number of hardships. Victims and their families may face serious financial strain following a trip and fall injury, including lost wages from time missed at work and costly medical bills which exceed insurance coverage. Furthermore, the aforementioned injuries may also cause emotional hardships. When the victim’s injury was the result of another party's negligence, they may be able to file a trip and fall lawsuit to recoup damages.

What Are Some Common Causes Of Trip And Fall Accidents?

While not all trip and fall accidents are the result of negligence, there are some that are more likely to present grounds for a lawsuit. The following are among the most common causes of trip and fall accidents that lead to lawsuits:

  • Broken stairwells
  • Falls on broken pavement
  • Uneven rugs or carpets
  • Tripping on fallen merchandise at grocery and convenience stores
  • Unmarked curbs or steps
  • Missing handrails
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Exposed cables or wires

Any of the aforementioned causes of a trip and fall accident may be the result of negligence. Injured individuals should remember, however, that in order to file a claim, they must be able to prove that there was negligence and that it was directly responsible for their injuries.

Trip And Falls In Retail And Other Commercial Establishments

There are seemingly limitless scenarios under which such slip and fall accidents occur. Unfortunately, employees are prone to leaving items such as boxes, merchandise and other items in aisles or open areas of stores. Even temporary lapses of judgment regarding leaving material in the path of customers can happen at inopportune times, leading to serious or even devastating trip and fall accidents. Such accidents can occur due to poor judgment relating to intentional acts by store management or employees. For example, we’ve seen clients who have suffered serious falls where store “displays”, advertisements, newspaper racks or even vending machines have been placed in dangerous locations. We have handled numerous cases whereby the cellar door immediately outside the premises on the sidewalk was left open or in a dangerous position so as to cause a serious fall. Also, some stores have interior trap doors in the aisles. We recently handled a case where our client was walking down the aisle inside a small retail store, looking straight ahead, when suddenly he fell straight down into an open cellar door. There were no store employees nearby nor any other warning whatsoever of this extremely hazardous condition.

Other trips occur inside stores (and outdoors as well) due to defects in steps, including but not limited to failure to have proper railings or banisters, broken steps, poor treading on steps or risers on steps that are dangerous and not in compliance with applicable safety codes. Falls can also occur due to negligently placed or old and defective carpets and placemats.

All of the above examples represent only a fraction of ways that a fall injury may occur within a retail establishment. In all of the contexts whereby one falls and is hurt, an injured party is not necessarily entitled to compensation simply because an accident occurred and he or she suffered injury. A careful investigation must be done, and an evaluation of the facts by a skilled trip and fall lawyer is necessary in order to assess the likelihood that one’s accident was caused by the negligence (i.e. the failure to use reasonable care under the circumstances) of another person or entity.

What Are Some Common Injuries Caused By Trip & Fall Accidents?

Our NYC trip and fall lawyers take pride in providing the best possible representation to accident victims; this is especially important as trip and fall accidents often involve very serious orthopedic injuries.

Some of the most common types of injuries caused by fall down accidents include fractures of bones that require surgery known as “open reduction with internal fixation.” This surgical technique involves “open” surgery under general anesthesia; the fracture is treated by inserting hardware, such as metal rods, plates or screws, to help the fracture heal properly. In many cases, this hardware remains in the victim’s body for the rest of his or her life. If the hardware needs to be removed, another major surgery is required to remove it.

Additionally, many trip and fall accidents lead to “articular” fractures, which occur at a joint (i.e. the ankle, knee, elbow, wrist, etc.). Articular fractures typically cause long-term discomfort, as well as post-traumatic arthritis. Other serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, may also be caused by trip and fall accidents.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations In Slip And Fall Injury Cases?

To avoid conflict with the statute of limitations, individuals who have suffered a serious injury in a slip and fall accident should not hesitate to contact an attorney. The statute of limitations is a law that specifies the amount of time an injured party has to file a lawsuit following an incident. Failure to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires can result in victims being forever barred from receiving compensation for their injuries. In New York, the statute of limitations for slip/trip and fall cases is typically 3 years. Victims, however, should not wait to seek out a slip and fall lawyer as the statute may vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, when filing a lawsuit against a municipality, injured individuals must file a claim within 90 days and the statute of limitations expires in only 1 year and 90 days.

What Compensation Is Available In A Slip And Fall Lawsuit?

Individuals who have suffered an injury due to a property owner's negligence may have many different types of compensation available to them. In a slip and fall lawsuit, victims may be able to receive compensation for the following:

Lost Wages: Depending on the severity of the injury, individuals who have suffered a slip and fall injury on private property may be forced to leave the workforce for a lengthy period of time. In some cases, the injured individual may be permanently forced out of work. As a result, injured individuals can face considerable financial strain. If the victim's injury was caused by the property owner's negligence, they may be able to recover lost wages caused by the injury, as well as compensation for any damage to their future earning potential.

Medical Bills: In many instances, an injury suffered on private property, such as a slip/trip and fall, can cause serious physical trauma and force the victim to undergo numerous medical procedures. The high cost of medical bills can financially cripple individuals who lack insurance. In a slip and fall lawsuit, injured victims may be able to recover compensation for any medical costs relating to their injury.

Pain & Suffering: In addition to receiving compensation for economic damages, injured individuals may also be able to receive compensation for any long-term pain and suffering caused by their accident. Compensable pain and suffering damages may include any and all types of physical or bodily pain, physical deformities caused by the injury and loss of life's enjoyment.

Wrongful Death: When an individual dies due to an accident on private property, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death suit, the family may be able to recoup compensation for conscious pain and suffering prior to death, as well as various types of economic loss, including lost income, the economic value of the loss of a spouse and the economic value of the loss of parental guidance when the deceased is survived by children.

Call A Slip And Fall Lawyer In NYC

Due to the complexity of slip and fall cases, it is within the best interests of individuals who have suffered an injury on public or private property to seek the counsel of a skilled slip and fall attorney. A good lawyer will thoroughly investigate their client's claims by identifying all parties involved, interviewing witnesses, taking photographs of the scene of the injury and reviewing medical records. Additionally, a good attorney will handle all aspects of the lawsuit, including filing it, handling trial and mediation where appropriate and pursuing maximum compensation.

Our attorneys have defended the rights of slip and fall victims for over 60 years. We understand the complexities of personal injury cases and use our knowledge and resources to pursue maximum compensation for all of our clients. Our attorneys are recognized as leaders in New York slip and fall accident trial law. 6 of our attorneys have achieved AV Preeminent status with Martindale-Hubbell representing the highest ranking for ethical standards and legal ability. 5 of our attorneys have been included in Super Lawyers® in the New York Metropolitan Area as published in the Magazine Section of the New York Times. Our firm is listed among the Best Lawyers® in the State of New York and is listed among the Best Law Firms in the New York Metro area by US News & World Report.

Slip And Fall Lawyers

How Do I Schedule A Consultation With Your Slip And Fall Lawyers In NYC?

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with our slip and fall lawyers in NYC, call our Manhattan office at 212.406.1700, our Bronx office at 718.892.0400 or contact us online. We will review your case and discuss your legal options with you. The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool And The Law Office Of William A. Gallina, LLP take all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our services are free of charge unless there is a monetary recovery. Our law firm is proud to serve the New York City area, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, as well as the surrounding counties and New Jersey. We offer legal services in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese.

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Queller, Fisher, et. al., LLP
Personal Injury Lawyers Serving NYC

*PRIOR RESULTS CANNOT AND DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR OUTCOME WITH RESPECT TO ANY FUTURE MATTER, INCLUDING YOURS, IN WHICH A LAWYER OR LAW FIRM MAY BE RETAINED. VERDICTS ARE SUBJECT TO REDUCTION AND MODIFICATION ON APPEAL.

*AV PREEMINENT AND BV DISTINGUISHED ARE CERTIFICATION MARKS OF REED ELSEVIER PROPERTIES INC., USED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MARTINDALE-HUBBELL CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES, STANDARDS AND POLICIES. MARTINDALE-HUBBELL IS THE FACILITATOR OF A PEER REVIEW RATING PROCESS. RATINGS REFLECT THE CONFIDENTIAL OPINIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE BAR AND THE JUDICIARY. MARTINDALE-HUBBELL RATINGS FALL INTO 2 CATEGORIES: LEGAL ABILITY AND GENERAL ETHICAL STANDARDS.