Whether you fall in a parking lot, a store, or a private residence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for injuries sustained.
Do I have a case?
In a premises liability case the plaintiff must prove that the premises were not reasonably safe; that the defendants were negligent in not keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition; and that their negligence in allowing the unsafe condition to exist was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury.
Where the premises are owned by a municipality, like a State highway or a town parking lot, it is not enough to prove constructive notice. Plaintiffs must typically prove that the government owner either created the dangerous condition or had written notice of it.
Do I still have time to bring a lawsuit?
New York’s statutes of limitations impose time limits for bringing a lawsuit. A claim for personal injury must be commenced within three years. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline you cannot bring a claim, even if the facts are on your side.
If your case involves the state or a local government, then you face additional deadlines.
Where the State may be liable, you have only ninety days to do one of two things: either start a lawsuit by filing a Claim; or file a Notice of Intention to File A Claim, which lets you start an action within two years from the treatment complained of.
Where a city or local government may be liable, you have ninety days to file a Notice of Claim. This does not start an action, but filing the Notice lets you start an action within one year and ninety days of the date of accident.
What happens after a consultation?
The first step in any premises accident investigation, even before bringing a lawsuit, is to review any accident reports or other documentation of the accident. In a commercial setting, the tenant or landlord may generate an accident report. Injured clients may have copies of any such documents.
Next we must determine just who are the owners, tenants, and contractors of the premises. It’s not always clear, nor is it always whom the employee sees as owning or controlling the property. This usually requires a search of public records to determine ownership.
We also need to review the client’s relevant medical records. If the client doesn’t have those records, he or she can authorize us to obtain them from treating physicians.
We then examine the records and, if we see a basis for seeking monetary compensation, we are able to represent you in a lawsuit.
Once a case is begun, there is extensive pretrial discovery. This is where the parties exchange all relevant evidence. The parties will also have to appear for depositions, and answer questions under oath. These are usually done in a conference room rather than in court, but the transcripts of such depositions can be evidence at trial. Injured parties also usually have to appear for an examination by a physician hired by the defendants, who are entitled to confirm the injuries claimed.
Pursuing a personal injury action may require retaining expert witnesses who can and will support the plaintiff’s claims at trial.
Once the evidence is in, the parties may retain expert witnesses. They will testify at trial about the conditions that led to the injuries. Treating physicians may also be asked to prepare reports about the cause of the worker’s injuries and their current condition.
At the end of discovery — which can run a year or more — the parties will get a trial date. That will likely be months away, during which the parties might reach an agreement to settle the case, or one party might prevail in a motion for summary judgment and win the case without going to trial.
While premises accident cases may settle before trial, it has been our experience that the best way to achieve a satisfactory settlement for a client is to be fully prepared and ready to proceed to trial.
If you think you may have a claim relating to a premises accident, contact the DelliCarpini Law Firm for a free consultation. We’ll answer all your questions and determine whether you have a claim. Contact us online or call us at 516.307.8818.