With the holidays fast approaching, New Yorkers across the state will be visiting friends and family and attending special events and holiday celebrations.  Oftentimes, larger than usual groups of people gather in homes, restaurants, and event spaces.  The unfortunate reality is that these conditions can lead to slip and fall injuries when guests are present in older, unfamiliar to them, buildings that are not outfitted with modern safety measures. 

It is not uncommon to find an older old home or commercial building that is not fitted with the same modern safety measures that would be required for new construction.  This is because older buildings may have been built to meet safety codes in place at the time of construction.  While this may mean a building or home is properly permitted, that fact alone may not be enough to absolve property owners of liability in the event someone is injured on the premises.  This is because in New York there is a common law duty of care that can create liability even when a building or home is in good standing with applicable building codes.  The implication of this is that properties must maintain conditions that are reasonably safe under the circumstances even if building codes do not require specific safety measures.  If a property owner knows or reasonably should know, that an unsafe condition may be present, then they have a duty to make the situation safe for guests.  

For example, imagine a house built several decades ago with a steep basement stairway and no railing alongside the stairs.  The building codes at the time the house was built may not have required railings and therefore the house could be fully permitted without that safety measure.  However, the homeowner could face liability if a guest slips and falls down the stairs because of the homeowner’s common law duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions was not met without the presence of a railing.  

The same principle is true of larger commercial or industrial buildings that are commonly utilized as event spaces during the holidays for various forms of community gatherings and private events.  Conditions may be even more dangerous when combined with typical New York winter weather that can leave exterior stairways, walkways, parking lots, and railings covered in snow, sleet, or ice.  

Another challenge often presented in older buildings is improperly maintained safety measures that themselves become dangerous conditions.  For example, stair railings that are loose or slippery, stairs that are cracked or chipped over time, safety markings that fade, and broken or insufficient lighting that fails to illuminate a step or other hazard.  

If you or a loved one is hurt as the result of a slip and fall this holiday season, get help and seek medical care.  Try to take pictures or have friends or family take pictures of the conditions that led to the injury.  This can be particularly time-sensitive in situations related to weather conditions.  Also, make sure to note anyone who could be a witness to the incident or the conditions that led to the injury.  Finally, contact the attorneys at R.A Bronx Injury Accident Firm to discuss your matter with an experienced and compassionate attorney.  

This article is for educational purposes only – to provide you with general information, not to provide specific legal advice.  Use of this post does not create an attorney-client relationship and information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.  

R.A Bronx Injury Accident Firm 1231 Lafayette Avenue Bronx NY 10474 (718) 682-3476 https://injuryaccidentbronx.com/


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