Is a Homeowner Liable If I Slip and Fall at Their House?

In premises liability cases, as slip and falls are known, a great deal depends on the nature of the hazard, how long the homeowner knew of its existence, and whether they tried to remedy it. Homeowner liability is generally based on whether they failed to maintain the property, warn anyone about potentials hazards, or were negligent. Keep in mind that simply falling at someone’s home does not necessarily mean they were at fault.

Because homeowners should carry liability insurance, they usually do not pay any settlements or judgments out of pocket.  Some people may feel reluctant to sue someone they know, but the homeowner is not personally paying damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.

A New York Personal Injury Lawyer at Douglas and London will investigate your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company and also assist you if the insurer states they are not responsible.

Common Causes of Slip and Falls

Common causes of slip and fall accidents in which the homeowner may prove liable include:

  • Failure to remove ice and snow from walkways and driveways
  • No warnings posted in areas under construction
  • Cracked pavement or driveways
  • Broken tiles, stairs, or handrails indoors
  • Debris left in walkways or otherwise causing a trip hazard
  • Bad lighting, especially around stairs or entryways
  • Spills
  • Frayed or torn carpets

Homeowner Defenses

The injured party should expect that, in most cases, the homeowner’s insurance company or their attorney will mount a vigorous defense. For example, if the person who fell was busy looking at their phone at the time, the defense will argue that this individual was not paying attention and is at fault.

The homeowner may also claim that the danger was obvious to anyone, or that they were on the property in where visitors were not permitted. If the victim was wearing improper footwear, that might also prove key to the defense.

Much boils down to what a “reasonable” person would do. Is it reasonable that they knew about the issue causing the fall and had the time to ameliorate it? Was the hazard present for a considerable amount of time? The answers to these questions may determine the outcome of the claim.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall

No matter where it occurs, immediately documenting the scene is critical. Take photos or videos, paying particular note to any obvious causes, such as broken or uneven pavement. Seek medical attention right away, even if you do not think initially that you were seriously hurt. Failure to do so will harm your claim, and the homeowner’s insurance company will allege that your injury took place elsewhere.

Shared Fault

Often, both the homeowner and the victim are both liable. For example, the homeowner was negligent in the maintenance of the property, but the victim was distracted and could have avoided it. In these situations, at trial, the jury may find shared fault under New York’s pure comparative negligence law. That means any damages received by the victim are lowered by the percent of fault for which they are responsible. If the victim is found 30 percent at fault and is awarded damages of $10,000, they will receive $7,000.

Contact us at Douglas and London today

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury after slipping and falling at someone’s home, you need the services of an experienced New York Slip and Fall Attorney. Schedule a free consultation by completing our online form or calling or texting us 24/7. We will evaluate your case to see if you have a valid claim for a lawsuit and let you know your options. Our attorneys have recovered more than $4 billion for clients in settlements and verdicts.