Children are back to school and autumn colors are exploding n the Mid-Hudson
Valley region. Even though it is getting cooler and the hours of daylight
are decreasing, people are not less active. This is especially the case
now that apple and pumpkin crops are ripe for picking.
Experienced Kingston slip and fall attorneys understand that many people do not associate autumn with environmental
dangers. However, bear in mind that fall has unique dangers even though
snow and ice has not begun to accumulate. But of course, snow and ice
storms can happen well before winter’s arrival; recall that Halloween
has been dampened by snow and ice in recent years.
Wet Leaves and Dark Sidewalks:
Sure the leaves are pretty this time of year, but once on the ground they
can be a menace. One real danger fallen leaves create is their obstructions
of roadway and walkway hazards. They cover trip hazards and uneven surfaces,
making it easier for people to trip and fall. Moreover, fallen leaves
are extremely slippery when wet. These are serious types of
premises liability cases requiring your attention.
Darkness falls earlier now and once daylight savings time ends, night will
come earlier. Obviously, it is harder to see in darkness and many property
owners are not good at keeping their property well lit. Again, dangerous
conditions may not be seen. Wet leaves, uneven ground, and icy spots will
be missed which can lead to a slip and fall accident.
Common places where slippery conditions persist are at parking lots and
shopping centers. The slick conditions can even be carried inside shops
and may persist inside entryways.
Common areas where poor lighting persists are staircases, parking lots,
hallways and other common areas in apartment buildings, shopping malls,
and office buildings. Exterior lighting is typically activated by timing
systems that should be adjusted for earlier sunset times. Also, exterior
lighting should be inspected routinely so as to discover burnt out bulbs.
Slip and Fall Litigation:
Property owners must keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition
for visitors. When a slip and fall accident occurs, chances are that the
accident could have been prevented had the property owner exercised reasonable
care over inspecting the property.
This is why
slip and fall accident victims may seek compensation for their injuries. But in order for a property
owner to be held liable, he or she must have been on notice that a dangerous
condition existed on the property.
Notice exists in two forms; actual notice and constructive notice. Actual
notice occurs when the property owner, manager, or staff was aware of
the danger. This means that the danger was observed. If the danger is
discovered and not cured, the property owner can be held liable for a
slip and fall victim’s injuries. Other times the hazard is not discovered
by staff, but it was discovered by someone else who reported the problem
to the business. Again, the establishment must act upon this information.
Constructive notice exists when the property owner was not aware of the
hazard, but should have been aware if he or she took the time to inspect
for hazards because such hazards existed for a reasonable period of time
to have been discovered.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Accidents on Private Property:
Accidents can happen anywhere, including on private property. Most likely,
the accident will have occurred on the property of a friend or family member.
These types of accidents are “uncomfortable” for most people.
This is because of the close relationships between the property owner
and the victim. The owners usually feel badly and the victim might not
want to complain out of politeness. Of course, most friends and families
do not want to sue each other.
Remember, however, that home owners are most likely insured by a homeowner’s
insurance policy. If you slip and fall on a friend’s property, get
their insurance information. Compensation can be obtained through a claim
and not out of your friend’s pocket. Experienced slip and fall attorneys
can talk to the insurance carrier for you.