Hurt on a Friend or Neighbor's Property: Should I Sue?
Statistics from the National Safety Council indicate that there were more than 6.8 million non-fatal fall-related injuries in the United States in 2020. Under New York State law, property, land, and business owners are required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors, customers, and other persons who are lawfully permitted on the property.
When an accident occurs on another person's property, the injured victim may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent property owner. However, if the incident occurred on a friend or neighbor's property, you may be hesitant to file a claim or sue them. An experienced New York State personal injury attorney can enlighten you about your options to seek compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, I’m ready and poised to assist and represent individuals hurt on a neighbor's property in their injury claims. As your legal counsel, I will review the facts of your unique situation and help you seek rightful compensation for your injuries without complicating your existing relationships. My firm is proud to serve clients across New York and Long Island and surrounding areas of New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, and Hempstead.
Premise Liability in New York
"Premises liability" is a legal term used for situations whereby a person is injured or hurt in an accident on someone else's property due to the dangerous, hazardous, defective, or unsafe condition of the property. Under New York State law, the property or landowner may be responsible for your injuries that occur due to the owner's negligence, injuries sustained while you were lawfully on the property.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
Some common injuries that might occur and lead to a premises liability claim include:
Slip and falls
Dog bites and other animal attacks
Accidents involving fire
Garage door accidents
Defective staircases or stair accidents
Swimming pool accidents
Elevator and escalator defects or accidents
Inadequate maintenance of the property
Chemicals or toxic fumes
Negligent security leading to injury or assault
Water leaks or flooding
Construction site accidents
If you or someone close to you was hurt in an accident on another person's property, you need to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Your legal counsel can help you hold the negligent property owner liable and determine the best way to proceed with your injury claims.
Should I Sue My Friend or Neighbor?
When an injury or accident occurs on a friend or neighbor's property, it is usually a delicate situation. You may be hesitant to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit against them in order not to strain your relationship. Keep this in mind: in reality, you will be filing a claim against the person's homeowner's or renters' insurance policy.
Essentially, filing a claim against their homeowner's or renter's insurance coverage means that your neighbor or friend isn't the one covering the costs. Their insurance carrier will be responsible for your claim. An experienced premises liability attorney can guide you through the claims process and handle all negotiations and communications with the insurance provider on your behalf.
The Issue of "Foreseeability"
Generally, property owners or storeowners have a duty to repair, fix, or warn visitors and customers about dangers that are foreseeable on the premises. If a person suffers an injury due to an unsafe condition, a condition that the property owner knew or should have known about, the property owner may be held liable for the person's injuries.
However, if the accident or injury occurred in a way that wasn't foreseeable due to the property's condition, the property owner may not be held responsible for the person's injuries. Similarly, if the property-based accident or injury occurred due to your negligence or carelessness, then you might not have any premises liability claim against the property owner.
Filing an Insurance Claim
If you're hurt on a friend or neighbor's property, your options to recover damages include:
Mediation: If there is no insurance, you can negotiate with your friend or neighbor to cover the costs of your medical bills, damages, and other accident-related losses. An experienced mediator or mediation attorney can help facilitate the negotiations and keep the conversation on track.
Insurance Claim: Alternatively, you can file a claim against their homeowner's or renter's insurance company. A skilled attorney can help negotiate with the insurance provider and attempt to recover the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Comparative Negligence in New York
New York follows the "pure comparative negligence" principle. Under the system, you are allowed to recover damages for your injuries and losses, even if you were partially or mostly at fault for the accident or injury. However, the amount of damages you may recover will be reduced by your fault degree. According to New York State's pure comparative negligence rule, you may still recover damages for your injuries even if you were 99% responsible for the property-based accident or injury.
Get the Skilled Legal Advocacy You Need
Premises liability cases involving friends or neighbors involve a lot of complexities. Nonetheless, you may still recover damages for your injuries through mediation or by filing a claim against the person's homeowners' insurance policy. An experienced personal injury attorney can enlighten you about your possible options to recover damages and help protect your rights.
For more than 30 years, I have devoted my career to offering experienced legal services and representing clients in their personal injury cases. Using my extensive knowledge of the laws and rules addressing liability in premises liability cases involving injuries on a friend or neighbor's property, I can guide you through the claims process. Above all, I will fight vigorously to protect your best interest and help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
If you were hurt in an accident on a friend or neighbor's property, you may seek fair compensation. Contact my firm—Law Office of Steven R. Smith—today to schedule a simple case assessment with a skilled slip and fall accident attorney. My firm proudly serves clients across New York and Long Island and surrounding areas of New Hyde Park, Mineola, Westbury, and Hempstead.