The Nature of Property Negligence


Negligence is the failure to act according to the standards that a reasonable person can expect to be met in a given situation. In a case of property negligence in New York, as in any other state, it is the property owner who is charged with failing to live up to the standard. Failure to maintain the property is often the factor behind cases of punishable negligence.

For example, a store owner may neglect the local safety guidelines regarding the pitch of stairs and build a steep or narrow flight of them. If a lawful entrant trips or falls down the stairs, he or she could have the grounds for a premises liability claim. Other examples of negligence include uncovered pools, crowded store aisles, and icy sidewalks that were not salted.

For a successful claim, the plaintiff must show that he or she was injured in a preventable accident. Simple carelessness on the property owner's part, though, does not constitute negligence. This is partly why so many negligence suits do not succeed.

Property owners, for their part, can reduce the risk of injuries by complying with building safety codes and public safety laws. They may even speak with a lawyer who works in property law to find out where they can improve safety.

A lawyer who works in premises liability law is equally important for the victims who wish to file a claim. If successful, they might be covered for past and future medical expenses, the income lost during their physical recovery, pain and suffering, and whatever else is applicable. A lawyer may hire investigators to gather proof against the defendant, such as the incident report and any surveillance camera footage. If negotiations for a settlement don't pan out the way victims want, the lawyer might prepare for litigation.