New York Court Discusses Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall accidents frequently occur in New York, and in many instances, they cause significant harm. Some people hurt in such incidents can recover damages, but whether they are owed compensation depends on numerous factors, including what caused them to fall and how long the dangerous condition was present. In a recent New York ruling, a court discussed each party’s burden of proof with regard to negligent claims arising out of slip and fall accidents. If you suffered injuries on someone else’s property, you could be owed damages, and it is smart to meet with a dedicated Buffalo personal injury attorney to discuss your harm.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

It is alleged that the plaintiff lived in a building owned by the defendant. As she was leaving the building one day, she slipped on the landing and fell down a flight of stairs that led to the front door. She was injured in the fall and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging they negligently permitted a dangerous condition to exist on the property, which caused her to suffer injuries. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not specify what caused her to fall and, therefore, her claim must fail. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.

Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Cases

Under New York Law, if a plaintiff in a slip and fall case cannot identify the cause of his or her fall, it is fatal to any negligence claim arising out of the incident, as it would require the judge or jury determining liability to make a finding of proximate cause based on pure speculation. In the subject case, the defendant argued that the plaintiff did not know what caused her to fall, and therefore, her negligence claim should be dismissed.

The appellate court noted, however, that in opposition to the defendant’s motion, the plaintiff submitted a transcript of her deposition in which she testified that while she did not observe the dangerous condition prior to her fall, she knew that the landing was slippery based on how she fell. Specifically, she slipped very fast, and her feet went out from under her. Further, her back was wet when she stood up after the fall. As such, the appellate court found that the defendant failed to establish that the evidence, on its face, demonstrated that the plaintiff could not identify what caused her to fall. The appellate court, therefore, ruled that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion.

Speak to a Trusted Buffalo Personal Injury Attorney

Slip and fall accidents are often caused by dangerous conditions that property owners are aware of but fail to remedy. If you were hurt in a slippery floor fall accident, you should seek legal counsel regarding your potential claims. The trusted personal injury attorneys of the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. possess the skills and resources needed to help people harmed in accidents seek damages, and if you hire us, we will fight zealously on your behalf. You can contact us to set up a conference at 716-839-3939 or through our online form.

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