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 offers 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.

The second measure that a commercial property owner should consider is to hire onsite security. Specifically, it should be a private firm with a solid reputation and not part of the staff hired as independent contractors. The third prong is to retain an attorney with specific experience in the asset class in which the property falls.

Hazardous conditions can exist in many forms. A wet floor, an icy sidewalk, inadequate lighting, or a general lack of repair can lead to a slip-and-fall accident or worse. An experienced personal injury lawyer may help sort out the liability issue for those injured on the premises of another.