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What to know about cat bite law

New York residents who own cats as pets may enjoy having them as part of their families. However, there is a chance that they could injure a person with their claws or teeth, and this can happen even if the cat was just trying to play with the victim. In New York state, cat owners are generally liable for damages caused by bites if they knew that their animals had a propensity to act in a vicious manner.

Unlike dogs, cats are generally not required to be kept on a leash or in a confined area while outdoors. Therefore, an owner may not be considered negligent if a cat bit someone while on public land or on another person's property. Cat owners may be able to claim that the victim was partially or fully responsible for his or her injuries.

How improper sidewalk maintenance can leave people injured

Sidewalks are important municipal features that allow for the safe travel of pedestrians in busy areas. Sidewalks allow people to stay out of the street where there are motor vehicles and provide a buffer between businesses and potentially dangerous traffic.

New York is home to many miles of sidewalk, and maintaining that sidewalk can prove quite difficult, which is why the responsibility for sidewalk maintenance typically lies with the person who owns the property that abuts the portion of sidewalk or, in some cases, the person holding a lease on that property.

Attractive nuisance laws protect children and families

Landlords and property owners in New York have the responsibility to keep their properties clean and in proper working order to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring. This includes keeping a property free from attractive nuisances that may cause injury to curious children.

Children are naturally inquisitive. This curiosity often draws them to situations that could pose a danger. The law gives special protections for children who may become injured while playing in or around a dangerous object left out by a property owner. These items are known as an attractive nuisance. Children are protected under attractive nuisance laws because they often don't understand how they can become injured.

Hosting a party can have hidden dangers

Holiday time in New York is festive with lots of parties and dinners with family and friends. But on any occasion, any time of the year, or for any reason another person enters a home, the homeowner is exposed to some degree of liability. If for any reason property in the home is damaged or one of the people visiting the home sustains an injury, there can be problems, even between the best of friends. However, there are some common sense guidelines a homeowner can follow to both minimize the risks and to be prepared to know what to do should an incident occur.

The first consideration for a homeowner is to be sure the home is in proper repair and there are no known dangers. If there is a potential problem, remedy it or clearly warn the guests. Insurance experts caution that some dangers may be from a seemingly benign source, such as a child near a pool or Jacuzzi. Additionally, it's generally a good idea to limit guests to those who are known by the homeowner.

Steps dog owners can take to prevent dog bites

New York residents may be interested in knowing that the second week of April is recognized as Dog Bite Prevention Week every year. Every year, around 4.5 million dog bites are reported. Around 20 percent of these dog bite cases require emergency room treatment.

Every year, thousands of children are victims of dog bites. However, the most affected are postal workers, with more than 6,200 incidents reported in 2017. One-third of homeowner liability insurance claims are connected to dog bites. The average payout is $37,000.

How homeowner liability can depend on an entrant's status

In New York, as in other states, homeowners have a duty to keep entrants from harm while on their property. The extent of this duty, of course, varies depending on the status of the entrant. This status can, consequently, affect the chances that an injured entrant has of recovering damages in a premises liability case.

There are roughly three types of entrants. The first are invitees, who are invited onto the property for some lawful purpose: for example, contractors invited to perform electrical or construction work. Homeowners can express their invitation, or the invitation can be suggested based on homeowners' conduct or from the customs established on that property. Toward invitees, homeowners must exercise ordinary care.

Is a government entity liable for your injuries?

In New York, many different people from all walks of life depend on municipal services to work, play and commute throughout the metropolitan area. Of course, from time to time, the government-owned or -operated systems that we use encounter problems or may even cause an injury. Individuals who suffer injuries while using municipal services like busses and trains, or who injure themselves while on government property, may need to file a personal injury claim to recover their losses, and they must proceed carefully.

Generally speaking, government and municipal entities enjoy some protections against lawsuits that civilians and private organizations do not, which can create complications for victims who suffer injuries and losses involving government liability. While it is possible to file claims against municipal entities, doing so is more complicated than filing a claim against a private citizen entity.

Slip and fall in Target store leads to lawsuit

New York residents are no doubt aware that commercial properties, even supermarkets, can sometimes pose dangerous conditions for entrants. When a lawful entrant is injured through no fault of his or her own, then there may be grounds for a premises liability claim.

One such claim, filed with the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire in December 2019, involves a New Hampshire woman who slipped and fell on cooking oil while walking down an aisle in a Target store. Store personnel who assisted the woman noted that the floor was slippery from dried cooking oil. It appears that a damaged can of cooking oil spray deposited the oil on the floor.

Premises liability requires a proactive approach

Premises liability is an area of concern for any New York commercial property owner. To the extent possible, most leasing contracts between the owner and the tenant seek to place the burden for liability on the tenant as the one who likely has more control over the safety of the premises. However, an injured plaintiff can, and often does, include multiple parties as defendants. For a variety of reasons, the landlord is often included, but there are several ways for a property owner to reduce the risk of exposure in a premises liability lawsuit.

A premises liability action is trying to establish that a dangerous property condition was allowed to exist due to the negligence of a property owner and thus caused an injury. Legal experts suggest a three-pronged approach offer as much protection as possible to the property owner. The first is to be sure to have an adequate insurance policy with adequate coverage and limits and tailored to the class of building and anticipated risks for that particular property. What is considered a foreseeable risk for one property may be quite different for another.

Slip-and-fall accidents on small business properties

Residents of New York should know that if they slip, trip or fall on a small business property, they may be able to hold the owner liable for their injuries. According to premises liability law, owners have a duty to prevent any dangerous conditions from arising on the property. If they are aware of a dangerous condition, then they must address it in a reasonable amount of time.

Dangerous conditions can include cracks in sidewalks, ice or snow on sidewalks, loose railings, poorly lit stairwells, torn carpeting and wet floors with no signage to caution customers. It must be shown that the owner was aware of the condition for a premises liability claim to be successful. In addition, victims must show that they themselves were not being careless and that the danger could not have been foreseen even in those conditions.

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