Albany Premises Liability Attorney
When visiting an Albany mall, supermarket, or doctor’s office, the last thing we expect is to find ourselves lying on the floor. Unfortunately, premises owners often leave unsafe conditions that lead to falls and accidents. Carpeting with frayed edges, wet areas showing signs they have been there a while with no warning signs, and unmaintained staircases can be a menace to anyone who comes across them.
For more than six decades, the Albany premises liability attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners have helped victims who sustain injuries on unsafe Albany properties to recover the compensation they deserve. We can help you too. Contact us for a free evaluation of your specific case and, in the meantime, read on for more general information about premises liability cases.
Our Results in Premises Liability Cases Speak for Themselves
If you are searching for an attorney who will hold property owners and managers accountable for their actions, you can count on Finkelstein & Partners.
While past performance can’t guarantee future results, examples of premises liability cases we have resolved successfully for our clients include:
- $1.1 million settlement – Landlord responsible for taking short cuts in repairs to fix contractors and framers original mistake
- $975,000 settlement – Union telephone worker slipped on ice at work
- $925,000 settlement – Trip & fall accident
- $811,880 settlement – Workplace accident
- $1.625 million settlement – Fall at a train station
We take pride in obtaining successful outcomes for our clients. Given the broad range of premises liability scenarios we have encountered over the years, we stand confident and ready to help you resolve your case.
What Are Common Injuries in Albany Premises Liability Cases?
In Albany, those who own or lease a property are legally responsible for ensuring their property is safe for visitors. Shoddy maintenance, poor signage, and inadequate security are no joke, and can result in serious injuries. Many of these injuries can be debilitating for victims and can result in thousands of dollars in medical costs, time lost from work, and immense stress for the victim and their family.
Some typical injuries Albany premises liability victims suffer in these cases include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Electric shock or burns
- Illnesses due to exposure to certain chemicals
These injuries are expensive, painful, and even life-changing. When you suffer an injury on Albany property due to someone else’s negligence, you and your family should not have to bear the financial burden of dealing with the injury. At Finkelstein & Partners, we can help identify potential options to recover compensation for your premises liability injury.
Identifying Conditions of Liability and Responsible Parties in Albany Premises Liability Claims
One of the most important aspects of Albany premises liability claims is identifying the party or parties responsible for your injuries.
To determine this, you must prove that the injury was, in fact, another’s fault, meaning:
- You had the legal right to be on the property because the owner directly invited you, the facility or property was open to the public, or you were hired to work at the property. An exception may apply if a child trespasses, drawn in by an attractive nuisance.
- Hazardous conditions existed – Wet floors, hazardous chemicals, broken handrails, poor lighting, and negligent security can all create hazards. If the possessor or owner of the property fails to address these conditions once they become, or should have become, aware of their existence, plaintiffs can hold them responsible for any resulting injuries.
- Another’s negligence resulted in your injury – You must establish that someone should have corrected the condition and negligence caused the illness or injury you suffered.
If you had a right to be on an Albany property, a hazardous condition existed that caused your injury, and your injury was due to another’s negligence, you must identify the specific party whom you can hold responsible. This is sometimes a straightforward determination. However, in some cases, more than one party caused your injury.
Some of the responsible parties could include:
- The property owner and/or occupant – The property owner and occupant may be two different people—such as in the case of a rental property—and each of them may bear some responsibility for your injuries.
- Maintenance company – If the property owner or occupant contracted with a maintenance company to perform work and the company failed to complete the job or left the worksite with hazardous conditions which contributed to your injury, they may also be liable.
- Other parties – Ultimately, anyone who contributes to the creation of a hazardous condition on a property could be responsible. For instance, a property used for an event might require security services. A security company may be responsible for injuries resulting from its failure to fill a shift with trained workers at the event. Your lawyer can help you work through the details of your specific case to determine all potentially responsible parties.
What Damages Can an Albany Premises Liability Injury Lawsuit Claim?
While the individual who suffers an injury in an accident at a business, mall, or office building is clearly affected, their family or loved ones also experience the injury’s impacts. If the victim is the primary breadwinner in the family, the family could lose income if the victim can’t work while recovering. When an injury victim is a caregiver, they may need to make other expensive arrangements to care for children or elderly family members.
The financial consequences of a premises liability case injury can be devastating to a family. Other, non-economic harms victims typically experience, such as pain and suffering, only compound them. A victim can seek damages—the legal term for compensation—for all such expenses and harms.
Albany premises liability victims often seek damages to cover:
- Medical costs associated with your injury – Regardless of how good your medical insurance is, you could still end up paying high out-of-pocket costs for your care from an injury suffered in an Albany premises liability accident. Costs you can seek damages for include in-hospital treatment, special tests or examinations, prescription drugs for treatment associated with your injury, follow-up doctor visits, and transportation to and from doctor visits. These damages may include estimated future medical expenses.
- Lost wages, including current and estimated future losses – Albany premises liability victims may seek damages for wages lost during their recovery from the accident. The scope of this form of recovery may include bonuses, benefits, and other income. In addition, if a victim will still be recovering for months, or longer, after a settlement or final court award, they may estimate future lost wages in their claim.
- Other losses related to your injuries – Victims of an accident on someone’s property may also claim other expenses such as remodeling parts of their home to accommodate their injury, paying for additional household help, and other losses.
At the Albany office of Finkelstein & Partners, we can identify all potentially recoverable expenses so you don’t miss out on a chance to recover any deserved compensation. Since every Albany premises liability injury is different, the expense and harms will vary. With our experience, we can help you determine what those are for your unique case.
How Might a Defendant Try to Reduce My Compensation?
Regardless of who we are trying to hold accountable for your injuries, we are ready to fight back against attempts to deflect liability.
Plaintiffs usually file lawsuits will against the defendant’s insurance company.
Insurance companies have experience with these cases too, and use some common tactics to reduce the amount of compensation they must pay out:
- Victim blaming – The defendant may blame the victim who suffered the injury. They may claim the victim was not paying attention to the floor and should have noticed the puddle they slipped on. By pointing the finger at the victim, the defendant contends that had the victim paid attention, they could have seen the hazard and avoided the danger and their injury. Thus, the defendant can bear no responsibility. In some cases, the fault may rest with both parties, but that does not mean a victim has no right to any compensation.
- Claiming injury was from a pre-existing condition – In the case of a premises liability victim who suffers back or neck injuries, insurance adjusters will ask if the victim has had prior neck or back injuries. If the answer is yes, the insurer will point to this as a way of escaping some or full liability.
- Claiming someone else was responsible – An insurance company will typically conduct its own investigation of the accident and may attempt to blame someone else at the location where your injury occurred for your injury. That person might not be insured or have enough wealth of their own to compensate you for your injuries.
Insurance companies may attempt to avoid liability by simply putting on an act of trying to help a victim. They can lead Albany premises liability victims to believe that insurance adjusters want to help them. This is often a mistake. Adjusters work for insurance companies—while they are contacting you and making inquiries, their objective is to find any way possible to lessen your claim. All insurers make money when they are collecting premiums from customers and avoiding paying out claims. Your injury claim is a threat to their bottom line.
For this reason, it’s in an Albany premises liability victim’s best interest to contact an attorney as soon after their accident as possible. Do not have discussions with an insurance adjuster without first making sure you understand your rights, and avoid signing any documents which provide the insurer with access to your medical records. Your attorney can help make sure you do not forfeit any rights or hurt your chances of receiving full and fair compensation.
Cost of an Albany Premises Liability Lawyer
At Finkelstein & Partners, we understand the concern Albany premises liability victims have about the cost of filing a lawsuit, particularly when at a time that they are facing a host of new and unexpected expenses. For this reason, we do not take any legal fees upfront. We accept Albany premises liability cases on a contingency basis, meaning that we take our fee only if we succeed in obtaining a settlement or court award on your behalf.
Our fee structure reflects our priority to help you first. When you contact us for a free case evaluation, we will listen to your story and understand the circumstances which led up to your injury and give you an idea of your best options for recourse. Should we move forward with your case, you have our commitment to provide the highest level of service available.
We will be transparent and communicate all developments in your case. We will fully explain any settlement offers we receive and explain whether we think they are fair or if you may push for more. With this support on your side, you can recover much more compensation than you could have by trying to handle the case on your own.
Albany Premises Liability FAQ
Do you have serious questions about an Albany premises liability accident? Take a look at the FAQ below for answers to the most common questions we receive, and learn more about obtaining the compensation you deserve.
1. Can I file a claim against a personal property owner, not a corporation, in Albany?
You may feel more reluctant to file a premises liability claim when you suffer serious injuries on private property in Albany. However, most homeowners carry insurance that will provide protection any time you sustain a serious injury due to the homeowner’s negligence or due to a problem with the property.
Since severe injuries may leave you with substantial financial losses and ongoing challenges that may make it very difficult for you to move forward with your life, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your right to compensation.
2. What common issues in Albany result in serious risk of premises liability accidents?
Albany businesses bear a high duty of care to visitors to those businesses. Hotels, for example, must provide a safe place for their guests to stay, while stores must offer a safe shopping experience for their customers. Nevertheless, some Albany businesses may inadvertently allow conditions that may pose a serious risk for visitors to those facilities.
Ice and Snow. Each year, Albany sees an average of 58.5 inches of snow. Because the city has the right equipment to handle snow and ice, life does not slow down in mild to moderate snowfall. However, that moderate snowfall does pose some danger as people make their way around the area.
They may, for example, slip and fall on ice outside a store that should have salted its sidewalks or fixed its parking lot. Snow and ice on visitors’ feet can also fall off as they move into the building, melt on the floor, and cause a serious fall hazard.
Businesses must have procedures in place to deal with that snow and ice and reduce potential risk to guests, from cleaning up the water promptly to putting out wet floor signs that serve as a reminder to visitors that they need to exercise care when moving around specific areas near doors.
Slip and Fall Hazards. Albany sees around 40 inches of rain per year, just over the United States average of 38 inches. Rainy days, like snowy days, may pose an increased danger to many Albany residents and visitors as they make their way around the city. Increased rain may mean increased water within many buildings, which may raise the risk of slip and fall accidents if employees do not appropriately clean up the mess or post warnings that will prevent guests from ending up in a serious accident.
Slip and fall accidents may also occur due to aging flooring or poor repairs on stairs or handrails. Albany has many historic buildings, some of which have stood since the city’s founding in 1686.
While those historic buildings offer a great deal of character to the city and help encourage tourist traffic, the owners of those buildings, including buildings that have since seen conversion to another use, must take care to keep up with maintenance and repairs on the building to reduce the risk of accidents, including slip and fall accidents.
Swimming Pool Hazards. Many hotels in the Albany area offer swimming pools to their guests. Albany guests may love spending hours in the pool. However, sometimes, those pools pose unexpected dangers that can increase the risk of drowning.
Slick pool decks, for example, can cause guests to fall even when traveling at a walk and strike their heads or fall into the pool, while damage to the pool itself could cause a swimmer to get stuck. Poor pool design may also increase the risk of an accident.
Fires. The historic buildings in Albany and the new buildings alongside them alike must have strict measures in place to protect against fire, including fire doors that may need to come down in a disaster, fire suppression systems, and clearly posted evacuation routes that will help visitors and employees alike get away from the property in the event of a disaster.
Furthermore, business owners need to take steps to update electrical systems and provide a safe environment for their guests. Landlords, even those who own historic buildings, must also take steps to update those systems to reduce the risk of electrical fires and other severe hazards.
Poor Security. Albany businesses may, in some cases, need to provide security for visitors to those facilities. Hotels, for example, may need to provide enough security that guests do not have a high likelihood of someone breaking into their rooms.
Poor security can substantially increase the risk of attacks, which may result in severe injuries. A business that fails to provide adequate security, especially in a place where guests otherwise expect reasonable protections, may bear liability for a guest’s injuries resulting from that lack of security.
3. If I suffered injuries on an Albany college campus, do I have the right to pursue compensation from the school?
Personal injury claims against colleges and universities that fail to adequately protect their students have grown exponentially over the past several years. In many cases, the courts have found that the college or university does have a duty of care to provide reasonable protections for its students, who have a right to expect a safe environment whether they attend a technical school that does not require them to live on-campus or attend and live at a local university.
If you suffered injuries due to an attack on an Albany campus, contact an experienced Albany premises liability attorney as soon after the incident as possible to learn more about whether you might have the right to file for compensation against your college or university.
4. Will I have to go to court to resolve an Albany premises liability claim?
Going to court to resolve a premises liability claim may feel incredibly traumatic. You may worry that you will have to drag out the process longer than necessary or that you will end up with additional costs related to the incident.
Fortunately, most premises liability claims do settle out of court. Most of the time, you can reach an agreement with the liable party or with the liable party’s insurance company without having to go to court, since a trial can significantly increase the legal costs the liable party will face when dealing with your premises liability claim.
In some cases, especially in cases with disputed liability, you may have a hard time settling your claim out of court for a fair amount. The liable party may try to claim that you contributed to your accident or that you did not suffer the full injuries you claimed in your accident. As a result, you may have difficulty acquiring the full compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Having an attorney to represent you during a case of disputed liability can prove crucial to maximizing the compensation you can recover.
5. If the insurance company that covers the premises where I had my accident offers me a settlement, what should I do?
Insurance companies may not immediately offer the full compensation you deserve after a premises liability accident. In fact, you may have a fight ahead as you file your claim and put together your demand letter.
Many insurance companies will try to get an offer in before you have a chance to put together your demand package, or even before you know what your eventual recovery from a premises liability accident might look like. What should you do?
Let the insurance company know that you do need time to consider a settlement offer, rather than accepting it immediately. The insurance company may try to pressure you or tell you that you need to accept the offer fast or it may come off the table.
You, however, deserve the full compensation owed based on the extent of your injuries and your financial losses after the accident, and that right does not disappear because you take the time to think about the offer issued by the insurance company. Stand firm and wait for the compensation you deserve.
Finally, consult an experienced Albany premises liability attorney as soon as possible to get a better idea of the compensation you really deserve, whether a settlement offer is reasonable, and how to proceed next. The sooner you talk to the lawyer, the sooner you can issue a response to the insurance company that reflects the compensation you should really receive for your injuries.
6. What happens if I suffer a serious injury on government property in Albany, including a public sidewalk?
You may, in some cases, have the right to file for compensation when you suffer an accident on government premises, including seriously damaged public sidewalks. However, in Albany, you may have less time to file a personal injury claim for any injury caused by a government entity. You may also have more trouble recovering compensation when you suffer injuries due to the negligent actions of a government entity.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can prove critical following an injury involving the negligent actions of a government entity. Working with an attorney can make it easier for you to build your claim against the negligent party and increase the odds that you will get the compensation you deserve.
7. How long does it take to file a premises liability claim in Albany?
You may need to consider several key factors when evaluating how long it will take to file a personal injury claim in Albany.
The Investigation. An investigation related to serious injuries sustained in a premises liability accident can take considerable time. Your attorney may need to look into many factors that contributed to the accident: not just the state of the premises itself, but any past concerns that the liable party may have faced related to premises liability claims.
For example, if your attorney finds that a hotel has had numerous safety complaints from guests in the past, or has suffered multiple break-ins that posed a danger to visitors to the hotel, it may help establish that the hotel knowingly committed an act of negligence and make it easier to seek the compensation you deserve.
Your attorney may also uncover other elements that contributed to the premises liability accident. For example, if an electrical fire started due to negligent construction, the construction company may bear liability for the accident.
At the same time, the other party’s insurance company will want to look into the circumstances that led to your accident and the conditions of your injuries. For example, the insurance company may want to take a look at the severity of your injuries, including looking at your doctor’s report or the limitations you may face long-term because of your injuries.
The Negotiation Phase. Negotiating to get the compensation you deserve after a serious injury can take quite some time. The insurance company may draw out the negotiation process, or you may not want to settle for anything less than the full compensation you know you deserve for those injuries. In some cases, the negotiation process can go on for months before you finally arrive at an agreement that works for both you and the liable party’s insurance company.
Going to Court. If you must proceed to trial to settle your personal injury claim, it may further extend the time needed to resolve it. If you must go to court, you may need to wait for a court date, then present your case before a court for a jury to resolve. Before going to court, you may go through a final round of mediation with a court-appointed mediator, who can try to help you and the liable party reach a settlement agreement.
Call the Albany Premises Liability Law Firm With Experience
At Finkelstein & Partners, we understand the turmoil and the financial stress you and your family are likely to face following an accident. We make sure you are working with a team that treats you like a person and not just another case. We know you have to focus on recovering from your injuries. The physical and emotional toll an accident takes on you and the emotional toll on your family can be overwhelming. Having to fight with insurance companies is the last thing most victims want to concern themselves with.
Contact Finkelstein & Partners or call us at (518) 452-2813 about your Albany premises liability case today. We can explain your rights and potential recourse, so that you can make the most informed decision. Let us show you what a difference working with a Albany premises liability lawyer who has your best interest in mind at all times can make for your future.
1707 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205