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Woman Slips and Falls in Apartment Building, New York Appellate Court Finds for Defendant Property Owner


On October 8, 2005, an elderly woman got off of the elevator in her apartment building and walked toward the mailroom to collect her mail from her mailbox. It was a day of heavy rain and the doorman had been mopping the area to try to keep standing water out of the lobby just two minutes prior to the woman getting off of the elevator. A New York Injury Lawyer said the woman slipped on the wet floor exactly two minutes after the doorman had mopped it. She sustained severe injuries and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. She filed a lawsuit against the condominium owners and the management company.

In New York, if a person has a slip and fall accident, they must prove certain elements existed in order to recover any damages. The person who fell must show that the owner of the property or the management company that maintains the property created the hazardous condition that caused the fall (slip and fall). They must show that the conditions existed and that the owner or manager was aware of the existence of the hazard and did not take steps to correct the problem. Alternatively, they may show that the problem existed for such a long time that the owner or manager should have known of the existence of the problem, but still did not take steps to correct the problem or warn the public of the problem.

The woman maintained in her action that the doorman saw her exit the elevator, he could have warned her that the floor was wet, but he did not. There were no signs that warned people walking through the lobby that the floor was wet. The floor was marble and known to become very slick when it was wet. The owners and the property manager should have known that on rainy days, the marble floor would become slippery because of water being tracked in on people’s shoes. They could have taken steps by placing mats through the lobby to prevent people from falling on the hard surface.

The owner of the building stated that he did not hold any liability because it is the responsibility of the management company to supervise the conditions of the building and to maintain it in a safe condition. The owner of the property requested that the court provide him with a summary judgment releasing him from liability in this situation. A Manhattan Personal Injury Lawyer said the management company stated that they were doing everything in their power to maintain the building in a safe condition by having the doorman mop the lobby as he noticed puddles of water on the floor. The management company further argued that the woman herself tracked the water onto the floor when she got off of the elevator. They maintain that because it was a rainy day, the mat in front of the elevator had become saturated with water. When the woman got off of the elevator and walked over the mat, she tracked water onto the floor. The woman slipped on that water.

The court reviewed the arguments on both sides. A Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they determined that the property management company by contract relieved the property owner of responsibility for the condition of the property. The request of the property owner for summary judgment releasing them from liability was approved. However, the property management company’s request for summary judgment relieving them of liability based on their theory that the woman had tracked water from the mat was not accepted. The court determined that there was enough of a triable issue of fact in the case for the case to go forward to trial. In a case like this one, where surveillance cameras captured the entire event as well as what happened with the doorman mopping the floor just two minutes prior to the accident there is less that is left to dispute. It was obvious that the doorman mopped that area and that there was not enough time for the floor to have dried before the woman walked on it. There were no wet floor warning signs and no one warned her that the floor was wet.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, New York slip and fall attorneys can help you determine what you need to do to clarify your claims. We are located in convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. A New York personal injury lawyer can review your case and guide you to make the best decisions for you and your family.

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