Commercial property owners in New York carry insurance that covers injuries that may happen on their premises. This insurance protects the commercial property owner against claims brought by those allegedly injured on their premises. The following is a basic overview of premises liability claims and how a property owner or insurer might challenge them.
Was the plaintiff on your property?
To satisfy the first element of a premises liability claim the plaintiff must prove is that either they were lawfully on the property or that they were trespassing, but the property owner was aware of that. Now, if you had not invited the plaintiff onto your premises, hired the plaintiff to work on your premises then the plaintiff may be on your premises as a trespasser. Trespassers are afforded less protection under premises liability law than those lawfully on the property. And, if you can show you did not know the trespasser was on your property at the time of the incident, this fact can help you in your premises liability defense.
Were you negligent as a property owner?
To satisfy the second element of a premises liability claim the plaintiff must prove that the property owner knew or should have known that the hazardous condition on their premises existed, and that the property owner failed to fix it properly, rope it off or place warning signs advising people to stay off the premises. To challenge this, you may call into question whether there was a known defect at all. Or, if there was a known defect, did you as a property owner have enough time to remedy it before the alleged incident happened? Challenging the knowledge component of this element of a premises liability claim can help you in your defense.
Did your alleged negligence cause the plaintiff’s injury?
Finally, to satisfy the third element of a premises liability claim the plaintiff must prove that their injuries were caused by the property owner’s alleged negligence. To challenge this, as shown above, you may argue that you were not negligent at all. Or you could challenge the plaintiff’s claim that they were injured due to the hazardous condition on your premises. For example, the injury might have happened elsewhere, may be minor or the plaintiff may have had a pre-existing condition that led to the injury.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that insurers and property owners in Staten Island can challenge a premises liability claim. While doing so may not be easy, with the right help you can challenge the allegations brought against you.