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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.

It can be hard to prove negligence, but in some cases, victims can point to a statute that the owner violated. For instance, building codes tell owners where railings and other features are to be installed. However, proving that the owner should have known about a danger can be difficult because it depends on what a "reasonable" person would have done. Also, figuring out who is responsible is more complicated if the property was being rented out.

In the light of these and other complications, those who intend to file a claim may do well to consult a lawyer who understands premises liability. The lawyer may even bring in third parties like investigators to gather proof against the defendant. This might include a copy of the incident report, any eyewitness testimony and any camera footage of the incident. Once the case is ready, the lawyer may be able to negotiate with the other side for a settlement out of court.

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