Property owners in New York are supposed to maintain a safe environment for their employees, their customers and other lawful entrants. The failure to do so is called property negligence, and it could range from the failure to uphold reasonable standards for care and upkeep to the failure to address hazardous conditions. Owners may be guilty of negligence if they do not meet building codes, public safety laws, and generally accepted business practices.
One of the deciding factors in a negligence case is whether the owner failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have acted in the same circumstances. For example, if reasonable drivers get a brake inspection every year, one who does not may be accused of negligence. If reasonable property owners consult local laws on the appropriate pitch for stairs, one who builds them steep or narrow is negligent.
Other examples of negligence include leaving a pool uncovered, not salting an icy sidewalk and leaving a store aisle cluttered with trip hazards. However, property owners are only negligent if they had sufficient time beforehand to address the issue and yet did nothing about it.
This is good to keep in mind because most property negligence cases result from accidents. Negligence lawsuits do not have a high success rate because many accidents are the result of carelessness, not negligence.
Someone who has been injured in a preventable accident on another's property can see a lawyer about filing a premises liability claim. The lawyer could hire investigators to find hard proof of negligence, such as building code violations or surveillance footage showing that no one bothered to warn against a wet floor or other known hazards. The lawyer could negotiate for a settlement covering the victim's medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable losses.