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Who is Responsible for an Unsafe Property

It is easy to assume that the owner is responsible for an unsafe property condition that leads to injury. In many instances, it may be that simple. However, the truth may be different under some circumstances. It all depends on a variety of factors including the use of the property, the type of injury and the relationships between the parties.

Generally, an owner of property is responsible for injuries caused by unsafe conditions on his or her premises, but there are several exceptions and special circumstances:

  • If the owner is a landlord who has rented out the property, the tenant in possession is usually responsible for maintaining it in a safe manner. This liability may be amended by the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant if the landlord agrees to provide certain maintenance services.
  • If the injury was caused by the negligent work of a contractor, that contractor may be liable.
  • If the injury involved a scaffold or construction safety device, both the contractor and the building owner may be liable under Section 240 of the New York Labor Code — often called the Scaffold Law.
  • If the injury was caused by a defect in a fixture installed on the premises, the manufacturer of that fixture may share in the blame.

Because of these factors, premises liability cases can often be much more complex than they initially appear. That is why it is important to consult an experienced attorney before communicating with the at-fault parties or their insurers. The experienced premises liability lawyers of Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia have years of experience guiding clients through this process and helping ensure that they do not unnecessarily waive their rights in Long Island, Suffolk County or Nassau County legal proceedings.

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