A premises injury lawsuit can be quite costly for your business. If someone falls at your warehouse, office or retail location, he or she can seek damages for medical bills, lost wages and other costs. 

Understand the extent of your potential liability if your company is facing this type of legal claim. 

Factors in a premises liability case 

To win a premises liability case in New York, the plaintiff must prove that he or she: 

  • Was an invited customer or guest, employed worker, or otherwise lawfully on the property when the injury happened 
  • Experienced an injury because of an unsafe condition that you knew about but failed to remedy or provide a warning about 
  • Suffered financial loss because of the injury 

The person must also file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. The deadline is three years from the injury date for a New York premises liability case. 

Available defenses 

You may not be legally responsible for a premises injury if the injured person was trespassing at the time of the incident. If you did not know that he or she was unlawfully on the property, New York state law does not hold you responsible. However, when young children trespass, the court can hold you responsible if the property contains an “attractive nuisance” such as a pool or playground without a fence. 

You may also argue that you did not know about the dangerous condition, or that you provided a warning that the injured person ignored. For example, if he or she fell on broken basement steps but ignored a “do not enter” sign on the basement door, your business could avoid liability. 

If you can prove that the injury occurred more than three years ago, you can ask the court to dismiss the case. You are not legally liable for older incidents under New York state law. When a person becomes injured on your commercial property, first consult your liability insurance provider.