Accidents happen. Unfortunately, any accident, including slip and falls, can lead to serious injuries that require expensive medical treatments and can lead to lost wages.
If you suffer a slip and fall injury in New York, there are important steps you should take to protect yourself and any future personal injury claims you may want to file.
Here’s what you need to know about New York negligence laws and six important steps you should take after a slip and fall accident in New York.
Negligence Laws in New York
At the heart of every slip and fall case is negligence. Negligence can be defined broadly as what happens when one person acts carelessly that causes, either directly or indirectly, harm or injury to someone else.
Basically, they breach what is referred to as their duty of care and someone gets hurt as a result. That said, New York also follows guidelines known as pure comparative fault.
This statute states that when both the defendant and plaintiff were negligent in a situation, the court has to determine the fault of each party in a percentage, and damages are awarded proportionate to that percentage.
The Elements of Negligence
There are four elements of negligence that must be proven by the person bringing the personal injury case in New York. They are:
The question the court asks to establish duty is whether there was a duty of care owed to the person who was injured. The law in New York states that a person must provide the same standard of care legally that another reasonable person would in comparable circumstances.
Breach of Duty
One duty of care is established, then it must be shown that that duty of care was breached. It is the responsibility of the plaintiff in the case to identify how the defendant was negligent and demonstrate how their conduct was culpable.
In this element, it is shown that the breach of duty caused the injury. There are two types of causes that can be established: actual and proximate. Under actual cause, negligent behavior can be directly tied to an accident and the injuries that were sustained as a result.
Proximate cause is the primary cause of injury, which means that the actions of the person or entity who owed you a duty of care were related to the injuries that were caused. In other words, the question is asked whether is it fair to connect the breach of duty to the injuries sustained.
The last element that must be established in New York negligence cases is damages owed. A damages award is basically the financial compensation that can help restore the injured party to the position they were in if the accident never occurred.
Small Business Liability Insurance in New York
Small businesses in New York don’t have to carry commercial liability insurance, but it’s important to note that there is no cap on personal injury awards in the state, either.
That’s why it’s in the best interest of small businesses to have commercial general liability insurance to limit exposure when an accident happens.
Six Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you’re in New York for essential business and end up in a slip and fall accident, then there are some crucial steps you should take to protect your rights and protect any future claims.
Get Medical Care
The very first thing you should do if you’re involved in an accident is to get medical treatment as soon as you can. Even for accidents that seem minor at the time, there may be delayed symptoms or hidden injuries that don’t come to the surface right away.
Get medical treatment so that you can have injuries diagnosed and treated. This also helps to document any injuries you suffer to help tie them back to a slip and fall accident.
File a Report
File a report of the accident with the property owner or manager. An accident report should be filled out that documents any injuries suffered as well as any hazards that may have caused the accident. Stick to the facts and make sure to get a copy of the report.
After the accident, gather evidence of the scene that captures any factors that may have contributed to the accident such as pictures or video evidence.
Don’t Talk About the Details
It’s in your best interest not to discuss the details of the accident with friends or family. Also, if you’re contacted by the insurance company of the property owner, it’s best not to give any information that could later be used against you. Don’t admit fault.
Follow the Doctor’s Advice
Once you’ve been given medical treatment, follow the orders prescribed by the doctor.
Hire an Attorney
To file a slip and fall personal injury claim, contact an attorney right away. If you’ve been injured, you deserve compensation for those injuries, so don’t let a slip and fall accident go if you’re suffering.