In New York, businesses and property owners have an obligation to protect the health and well-being of customers and other guests. Among other things, this responsibility includes a duty to identify and remove slipping hazards and tripping hazards. Unfortunately, too many property owners fail to live up to their basic obligations.
A slip and fall accident can cause very serious injuries. Each year, more than one million Americans seek professional medical attention for a slip and fall. Here, our premises liability lawyers provide an overview of slip and fall accident liability under New York law and we explain when expert testimony may be needed to bring a successful legal claim.
New York Law: A Duty to Use Reasonable Care to Keep Premises Safe
In New York, an individual or entity that is in “control” of property owes a duty of care to the people who enter the premises. In the much-cited 1976 New York Court of Appeals case of Basso v. Miller, the court clarified the state’s premises liability standard: a property owner’s responsibilities are based on the reasonable expectations of the parties and society in general.
What this means for a slip and fall accident claim is that liability must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In order to hold a local business or property owner liable for a slip and fall accident, the injured victim must prove that their accident happened because the defendant failed to meet reasonable expectations.
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Expert Testimony May Be Used in Cases Involving Building Codes or Municipal Codes
Expert witnesses are not used in every slip and fall accident claim. As a general rule, a slip and fall accident that occurred because of an obvious safety hazard typically does not require expert testimony. For example, a slip and fall caused by a spill that was left uncleaned for hours on a retail floor probably will not necessitate expert testimony. Most often, expert witnesses are used when liability involves building codes and/or municipal codes. Some notable examples of experts who may provide relevant testimony include:
- Maintenance professionals; and
- Other people with knowledge of local codes.
The bottom line: a slip and fall accident claim that involves complicated questions over building codes or municipal codes will often require expert witness testimony. At Richmond Vona, LLC, our premises liability attorneys are prepared to help you build a strong, well-supported slip and fall accident claim. We can connect you with the right professional expert testimony to prove fault and maximize your financial recovery.
Schedule a Free Personal Injury Consultation
At Richmond Vona, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are strong, aggressive advocates for slip and fall accident victims. If you or someone you know was hurt in a slip and fall, our premises liability lawyers can help. To request your no cost, no obligation personal injury consultation, please contact us today. We are proud to represent clients throughout Western New York, including in Orchard Park, Hamburg, Lockport, Medina, and Niagara Falls.