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What is Premises Liability?

What is Premises Liability

Contrary to popular belief, premises liability accidents do not only happen during the cold season. If property owners are negligent in their responsibility to maintain safe and orderly premises for tenants, guests, and those hired to work on the property, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of their negligence.

In addition to repairing any damage on their premises, property owners are responsible for removing any hazardous substances and ensuring proper security standards are put in place. When this does not happen, tenants and visitors may sustain injuries. Get the facts on premises liability and how to file a valid claim.


Premises liability refers to an area of law in which plaintiffs are injured due to unsafe or defective conditions on someone else’s property. When property owners do not maintain safe premises and someone is harmed as a result of this negligence, the property owner may be held liable for damages including the cost of the plaintiff’s medical expenses.

In order to file a valid premises liability claim, plaintiffs must prove they were on the property legally at the time they were injured. Tenants, their guests, and anyone hired to work on the property are all legal occupants of the property that may receive compensation for any injuries sustained while they were on the premises. Trespassers, on the other hand, are illegal occupants on the property and will have a much more difficult time recovering compensation for any injuries sustained.

In addition to establishing legal presence on the property, plaintiffs will need to prove the property owner failed in their responsibility to keep the premises in safe condition. This includes the following:

  • Duty: The defendant owned, leased, or controlled the property.
  • Breach of duty: The defendant was negligent in the maintenance of the property.
  • Injury: The plaintiff was harmed on the defendant’s property.
  • Causation: The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injury.

It’s important to keep in mind that premises liability law varies from state to state. It’s in your best interest to contact an experienced premises liability attorney who can guide you through this complex legal process and help you recover the compensation you need for any unexpected medical expenses and lost wages.


While snow and ice are major premises liability hazards during the winter, there are additional hazards that pose risks to tenants and visitors year-round. Premises liability hazards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Stairways with broken handrails or missing steps
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Wet or oily floors
  • Hidden extension cords
  • Unsecured rugs or carpets
  • Improper fire safety standards

Lax Security

In addition to the hazards listed above, lax security standards are a major cause of many premises liability injuries. Property owners across New York have an obligation to maintain sufficient standards to protect tenants and visitors, including the following:

  • Lighting
  • Locks
  • Security gates
  • Video surveillance
  • Security personnel

When security measures are not properly implemented, it can result in disastrous consequences, including sexual assault, mugging, attacks, and other violent events that leave victims catastrophically injured.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Swimming pool accidents are another common form of premises liability injuries and deaths, particularly for children. Property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that pool areas are properly secured, typically with a fence and a locked gate. If the pool area is left unsecured or unlocked and someone drowns in the pool as a result, the property owner may be held liable.


Properties that are not kept in safe working order can result in a wide range of injuries for tenants, guests, and those hired to work on the property. Common injuries sustained in premises liability cases include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones and sprains
  • Drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Burns and abrasions

It’s important to keep in mind that most states follow the principle of comparative fault in premises liability cases. This means that tenants and visitors have a duty to take reasonable care in order to keep themselves safe while on the property. If tenants and visitors engage in dangerous activities that put their health and well-being at risk, the property owner may not be held responsible for any injuries that result.


If you have been injured on someone else’s unsafe property, our premises liability attorneys at Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz & Schatz, LLP can protect your rights and help you recover the compensation you need and deserve for any unexpected medical expenses and lost wages.

When you work with our firm, our New York City premises liability attorneys will begin an investigation to secure all the available evidence and answer questions regarding how long the unsafe condition existed, if anyone has had an accident in the same location or filed complaints about it, and whether the issue is a building code violation.

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