Early last week, a New York building owner was fined $20,500 after he was found liable by a judge for various building safety violations. A local news report explained that a judge found him guilty on the charges of causing a public nuisance and creating a safety hazard. Apparently, the building owner allowed his property to remain in a dangerous condition after the city had to demolish it under an emergency order.
The building is not insured, and years of neglect compounded with the rain and snow of a heavy winter caused the roof to collapse. The judge chastised the owner for not hiring a contractor to remove the heavy snow from the roof. He went on to explain that the owner should not allow the neighbors to be exposed to the sight and smell of his partially demolished building.
The building owner argued that it was up to the city to “finish the job” and clean up the debris that was left over from the demolition. However, the judge contended that the building owner continued to allow the debris to remain even after he was cited over 80 times. The judge reprimanded the owner and explained that he should have made at minimum a good faith effort to ensure the property was safe.
The owner’s citations amount to approximately $500 each, but the judge warned that the penalty will increase to $1,000. Furthermore, the building owner may have to serve a jail sentence if he lets his property remain in its current condition.
Premises Liability in New York
This case exemplifies the stance that New York judges take on ensuring that building owners comply by all safety rules and regulations regarding their buildings. In New York, any individual who owns a property or is a landlord of a property must take every necessary step to guarantee that their property is safe for residents, employees, and those who are visiting. If an individual is hurt because of the negligence of the building owner or landlord, he or she may hold the owner liable through the law of premises liability.
What Constitutes Negligence?
When bringing a claim on the theory of premises liability, it is important to establish that the property owner was negligent. In a New York premises liability lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that either the property owner knew or should have known about the safety hazard and did not rectify it, or that the owner caused the hazard. It is important to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s injury was not because of his or her own negligence but rather because of the dangerous nature of the property.
Negligence can be established by showing a number of deficits in the property. Some common examples of negligence are if the building is falling apart, if the steps are broken or dangerous, if there are not adequate signs warning of clear and present dangers, or if the building is not properly or sufficiently lit.
Contact an Attorney
These types of premises liability claims can often be complicated and time-consuming. To increase your chances of success, you should contact one of our experienced and diligent attorneys at Duffy and Duffy. Our attorneys have assisted a significant number of clients in their negligence lawsuits against derelict building owners. If you or a loved one has been hurt because of an accident at a negligently maintained building, you may be eligible for monetary compensation for your past medical bills, future medical expenses, and other related damages. Please contact one of our dedicated attorneys at (516) 394-4200 to schedule your free initial consultation.
See Other Blog Posts:
New York Nursing Home Successfully Sued for $2 Million After Negligent Care Led to Stage-IV Bedsore, Long Island Injury Lawyers Blog, September 29, 2014.
“Special Knowledge” Jury Instruction Required Reversal of Verdict in Plaintiff’s Favor, Long Island Injury Lawyers Blog, September 29, 2014.