A New York appellate court recently issued an opinion addressing contractor liability for defects resulting in a slip-and-fall. Generally, New York slip-and-falls fall under premises liability theories of negligence. Although slip-and-fall cases might seem straightforward, each case is unique and successful recovery depends on the property owner’s status and circumstances surrounding the fall. Common defendants in New York slip-and-fall cases are property owners, government or city entities, and construction or contracting companies.
Property owners maintain the duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. These duties include removing snow and ice from their property, ensuring that their stairs and elevators work properly, and securing their property from foreseeable criminal activities. However, reasonableness can be relative, and injury victims must prepare a compelling and legally sound case. Courts will look to various factors when determining whether a property owner’s conduct was reasonable. Some considerations include how long the defective or unsafe condition existed, and the amount of time the owner had to address the hazardous condition. Moreover, defendants will often impute fault on the victim, and plaintiffs must be able to address any contributory negligence claims.
In certain situations, the city may hold full responsibility for a slip-and-fall accident, such as when the accident: