Legal Memorandum: Landowner's Liability for Slip-and-fall Injuries

Issue: Under the law of New York, when will a court hold a landowner liable for injuries suffered by another in the case of a slip-and-fall incident?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence, Real Estate Law
Keywords: Slip-and fall claim; Lliability and damages; Negligence
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 725 N.Y.S.2d 40; 23 A.D.2d 642; 675 N.Y.S.2d 82; 283 A.D.2d 361
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2015

Booker v. K-Mart Corp. sets forth the general standard in a slip-and fall claim:

From a review of the relevant pattern jury instruction (PJI3d 2:90 [2004]), we learn that for a plaintiff to recover on a slip and fall claim he or she must prove (1) that the premises were not reasonably safe, (2) that the defendant was negligent in not keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and (3) that the defendant’s negligence in allowing the unsafe condition to exist was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s injuries.


When discussing bifurcating liability and damages in a slip and fall case, it seems clear that the bifurcation of issues is actually occurring between the issues of negligence and causation/damages.


Here, the issues of whether or not the property was reasonably safe and whether or not the defendants were negligent can be decided without involving any proof of the plaintiff’s injuries, and without any prejudice to the defendants’ position.


A defendant who is found negligent is not liable to a plaintiff unless it can be shown that the negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s alleged injury. (Farinaro v. State of New York, 132 AD2d 642, 518 NYS2d 16 [2nd Dept 1987].)

9 Misc. 3d 992, 993-994, 805 N.Y.S.2d 226, 227-228 (N.Y. City Court 2004). 

“To constitute constructive notice, a defect must be visible and apparent […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)