Under New York law, individuals injured in a “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” generally have three years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. However, the limit may be 90 days if the property owner is a city, town or municipality. Despite the statute of limitations, tolling is a legal doctrine that can pause or defer the 3 year “clock” set forth by a statute of limitations, such that a lawsuit may potentially be filed even after the statute of limitations has concluded. This applies to cases with underaged individuals waiting to turn 18.
Important: a 90 days limitation applies to cases against a City, Town, Municipality or State Agencies. For example, if you trip on a sidewalk next to a public school – the 90 day rule may apply. It requires preliminary pre-suit paperwork to be filed against a specific municipality. It is difficult to determine which time limit applies and each case needs to be specifically evaluated by a lawyer.
There are a number of environmental factors that may be classified as a direct cause for a slip and fall accident. They include, among others:
- Slippery surfaces covered with water, ice or snow;
- Holes in the walking surfaces;
- Unmarked curbs or steps;
- Damaged/broken stairs or handrails;
- Objects left on the ground;
- Unsecured wiring;
- Uneven rugs or carpets;
- Insufficient lighting.
Although there is no obligation to sign any documents in the store, it is advised to report the slip and fall accident immediately and request that the fall be recorded in an incident report. A store manager may ask you to sign the incident report. If that occurs, we recommend signing only the incident report and nothing else. Additionally, please be sure to photograph the document you sign. It is then the store manager’s responsibility to file a claim of their own with their insurance company.