Five Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents in NYC Apartment Buildings

Five Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents in NYC Apartment Buildings

One frigid winter morning, Susie steps out of her NYC apartment to walk her dog. When she heads into the parking lot, she wipes out on a slick patch of ice. Now, she’s bedridden and in serious pain.

Such accidents are commonplace in New York City apartment buildings. Below, our NYC slip-and-fall lawyers discuss five common causes of slip-and-fall incidents. A New York slip-and-fall lawyer also explains what to do if you’ve had an accident at your apartment.

Five Common Hazardous Conditions in NYC Apartments

Hazardous conditions in NYC apartments can run the gamut from slippery floors to bad lighting. We’ll cover some common causes of slip-and-fall accidents next.

1. Wet Floors

When you think of a slip-and-fall accident, wet floors are probably the first thing that comes to mind. That’s because such accidents are incredibly common.

One California man sued a buffet after falling in water that he claimed had been spilled by restaurant employees. The jury ruled in his favor, awarding him $850,000 in damages.

In May 2023, a customer wiped out in the bathroom of a major fast food chain. The victim, who was forced to stop working because of his injuries, recovered nearly $8 million in damages.

Accidents like these are also common in and around apartment buildings. Employees wash floors without putting up warning signs or neglect to clean up spills, and when unwitting apartment dwellers walk into the mess, the outcome can be disastrous.

2. Damaged Flooring and Loose Carpeting

Apartment buildings see a lot of traffic; predictably, that traffic can wear down carpets and flooring in no time flat. Carpets can bunch up or become loose, floor boards splinter, and tiles pull away from the subflooring.

Replacing damaged flooring isn’t cheap, so many apartment building owners naturally try to put it off for as long as possible. Often, the result is an accident that leaves the victim in serious pain.

3. Swimming Pools

Swimming pools can be loads of fun, especially during our balmy summer months when everyone’s trying to beat the heat. But pools also harbor plenty of dangers, such as the risk of falls and drownings.

It’s easy to see why. Swimming areas are constantly wet, and that chronic wetness is an accident waiting to happen. Step in a puddle the wrong way, and you risk falling and hitting your head on the unforgiving pavement.

Regrettably, many who slip fall into pools and drown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are about 4,000 fatal and 8,000 non-fatal drownings per year nationwide.

4. Icy Sidewalks

Once our infamous nor’easters roll in, managing icy sidewalks can be challenging. Still, apartment building owners who neglect this duty risk paying big-time in a premises liability lawsuit.

By law, New York property owners must clear icy sidewalks promptly. Failure to do so could result in a fine. If someone hurts themselves because of an icy sidewalk, they are within their rights to file a lawsuit.

5. Poor Lighting

The light outside your apartment has been burned out for weeks. You’ve begged the owner to fix it to no avail. One night, the darkness causes you to trip over something hidden in the shadows. Can you sue and recover damages? More than likely, yes.

If you owned a home, you would be responsible for fixing burned-out bulbs, but as an apartment dweller, that responsibility is on the property owner.

Slip-and-Fall Accident Statistics

While some slip-and-fall accidents are relatively minor, many victims aren’t so lucky. These harrowing statistics will convince you of the severity of slip-and-fall accidents:

  • In 2021, almost 44,700 people died in falls at home and work.
  • Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits. Annually, about one million people visit the ER because of a fall.
  • One in five falls causes a serious injury, such as a hip fracture or head injury.
  • The cost of treating falls is estimated to exceed $101 billion by 2030.
  • In 2020, 18% of the 1,176,340 non-fatal injuries requiring time off work were related to slips, trips, and falls.

Who Is at Fault for Accidents in Apartment Buildings?

Who is at fault depends on precisely where the accident happened. If it occurred in your own apartment, the property owner probably isn’t liable. For instance, you cannot hold the owner liable for incidents like these:

  • Falling off a stepladder
  • Slipping on a wet floor that you cleaned
  • Tripping over something in the dark because you failed to turn on the lights

If the accident happened outside your apartment, the owner may be liable for tenant injuries. You can hold the owner liable for:

  • Failing to implement accident prevention measures, such as “wet floor” signs
  • Failing to clean up spills
  • Neglecting to change burnt-out lightbulbs
  • Failing to de-ice sidewalks

Understanding the Elements of Negligence

If you want legal compensation for damages, you must be able to prove landlord negligence. To do that, you will have to establish these elements:

  • The landlord or property owner owed you a duty of care.
  • The owner knew about hazardous conditions but failed to correct those conditions (called breach of duty).
  • Their breach of duty caused your accident.
  • You incurred compensable damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.

If you’re unsure whether you have a valid case, contact a New York slip-and-fall lawyer.

Recovering Damages for a Slip-and-Fall Accident

Slip and Fall Lawyers

To recover damages, you’ll need to gather evidence in addition to proving negligence. Without evidence, the landlord might contest your allegations of negligence.

Evidence may include:

  • Video footage from security cameras on the property
  • Pictures of the accident scene and your injuries
  • Copies of medical treatment records and doctor’s bills
  • Witness statements from people who saw the accident
  • Statements from your therapist or psychiatrist (helpful for proving emotional distress)

If gathering such evidence sounds like a tall order, reach out to a slip-and-fall lawyer for help. Your lawyer can put together compelling evidence while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Reach Out to a Manhattan Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Now

Proving damages in a slip-and-fall lawsuit can be a challenge, which is why it’s wise to have a good personal injury lawyer in your corner. Call Ross & Hill at (718) 855-2324 for a consultation with a New York slip-and-fall attorney to learn more about your rights and the proper steps moving forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you sue NYC for falling on a sidewalk?

To sue the city for falling on a sidewalk, it must have had prior written notice of the defective sidewalk condition (cracks, loose stones, holes, etc.). The victim must prove that the city had notice before the accident happened.

Is there a cap on pain and suffering for fall accidents in New York?

New York does not impose a cap on pain and suffering damages. You are free to sue for any amount of pain and suffering damages, but your lawyer must be able to prove those damages to successfully recover.

What is HP action in New York?

HP action involves making a claim against a property owner to force them to make necessary repairs. Tenants can also file a claim in cases of landlord harassment (breaking locks, threatening phone calls, etc.). You can bring a claim against an apartment through the New York Housing Court.

What are landlords responsible for in New York?

New York landlords are responsible for providing hot/cold water, heat, good lighting, and adequate security measures. If your landlord refuses to make necessary repairs, reach out to a New York slip-and-fall lawyer.

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