When a person is injured on anothers property
or premises because of negligence, he or she may have a claim
for personal injuries. A premises liability case may include
a fall down a staircase because of broken steps or poor lighting,
or a fall because of a slippery substance on the floor. The
premises involved can be a commercial building, a supermarket,
an apartment house or a private house.
Other types of premises liability accidents can involve
defective or malfunctioning elevators such as when an elevator
does not stop level with the floor or drops suddenly. Defective
escalators can also cause accidents.
Premises owners and landlords have a responsibility to
provide reasonable security to those on their property. When
a serious crime occurs on the premises such as an attack,
rape or murder, a property owner may be responsible if the
crime could have been prevented by better security.
Premises owners may also be liable for dog-bites
and animal attacks on those on their premises. Dog owners whose dogs
have shown aggression in the past may be liable when their
dogs attack and injure another person.
Municipal Liability cases are those against the state,
county, city or town. These claims often have special laws
and regulations that affect the rights of the plaintiff and
even in what court a claim must be brought. Liability of
a municipality can occur in many different situations.
One very important law affecting the responsibility
of municipalities concerns the short time period for bringing
a claim, much shorter than for claims involving other defendants.
Generally, a municipality must be given written notice of
a claim within 90 days of its occurrence. In addition, a
lawsuit against a municipality must be commenced within one
year and ninety days of the occurrence.
Perhaps the most frequent type of claim against a municipality
involves a sidewalk defect such as a crack, hole, broken
and uneven concrete or missing concrete. Generally, the municipality
must have prior notice of the defect before it can be held
Municipal liability also involves other areas in which
the municipality is providing services such as transportation,
for example, bus and subway accidents. Premises liability
cases can be brought where the municipality, such as a housing
authority, owns or manages the property. When the municipality
operates a school it may be responsible for accidents and
incidents involving school children, teachers or other people
at the school.
Cases against the police department for police brutality,
excessive force or civil rights violations are also municipal
liability cases. These cases may involve the mistreatment
of suspects under police custody and the unjustified use
of deadly force. The shorter time periods for bringing a
claim also apply in these cases.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN AN ACCIDENT
1. Call emergency personnel and wait for
them to arrive;
2. Obtain the names, addresses and phone
numbers of any witnesses;
3. Consult an attorney such as Michael J. Asta as soon as possible following an accident.