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An overview of preventable falls and lawsuits

Many New York property owners may worry about facing a lawsuit if someone slips and falls on their properties. A successful lawsuit may be costly for owners in terms of fines, damages and legal fees. The main component in a slip-and-fall lawsuit centers on whether the property owner created or allowed a condition that caused the accident. In many cases, property owners may be able to reduce the chances of a slip and fall through good property maintenance.

According to the National Safety Council, falls are the top cause of preventable injury-related death for people between 65 and 74 years of age. In terms of preventable nonfatal injuries, falls are the leading cause for all people except those in the 5 to 24 age range. Falls also account for a high number of hospital visits; fall-related injuries brought over 8.5 million people to an emergency room in 2017.

According to FindLaw, a person may file a lawsuit to hold a property owner liable for a slip-and-fall incident that happens on his or her property. Liability is usually related to the concept of a "dangerous condition," which is something that presents an unreasonable and unforeseen risk to a person on the property. Cracked flooring, standing water and bad lighting are examples of potentially dangerous conditions.

In a lawsuit, the plaintiff usually must prove that the property owner caused the condition to exist through action or negligence. In some cases, there is no negligence on the part of the property owner; a person may simply act carelessly and sustain an injury from a fall. For a personal injury lawsuit to succeed, an injured person must prove that the fall occurred because of a known, preventable property condition.

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