When New Yorkers experience an injury on someone else’s property, they may claim that property owners are liable for their injury. Premises liability examples include elevator accidents and slip-and-fall accidents, among others.

The New York State Bar Association states that property owners must use reasonable care to keep properties safe for people whose presence on the property is reasonable, such as diners in a restaurant or guests in a hotel. Proof of a liability claim against a business requires the claim to satisfy several conditions.

The existence of a defective condition

Examples of defective conditions may include things like unattended liquid spills on store floors, accumulated garbage in a stairwell or wet napkins on the floor of a restaurant. These defective conditions must be nontrivial for premises liability to apply.

Responsibility for a defective condition

Liability generally attaches to property ownership, occupancy or control. Liability may also apply if a property causes a defect adjacent to the property. For example, water from a property flowing to an adjacent property and freezing, causing a slip hazard would make the property the water came from liable.

Conduct of the injured party

Someone alleging premises liability must show that the property owner created the defective condition that caused injury or knew about it and did not correct it within a reasonable time period. Courts also consider whether plaintiffs engaged in culpable conduct that could have contributed to their own injuries.

Only when the presence of a defective condition, responsibility for the defective condition, reasonable knowledge of it and reasonable plaintiff behavior combine will premises liability apply.