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Unfortunately, slips and falls can happen just about anywhere due to negligence. While many people assume slip and fall accidents are not severe, injured parties can suffer long-term injuries that negatively impact their lives. As such, they can pursue legal action against the property owner for the damages they’ve incurred. However, in some premises liability cases, the property owner may claim they are not responsible for your injuries. You should have noticed the dangerous property condition as it was an “open and obvious” hazard. This defense could hinder your recovery of the compensation you deserve for your losses. As such, it’s vital to enlist the help of a skilled New York City Premises Liability Attorney who can help you fight for the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. 

What is the “open and obvious” rule in a premises liability case in New York?

Although a property owner is legally obligated to maintain reasonably safe premises for all lawful visitors by remedying any unsafe property conditions to prevent accidents and injuries, there are certain exceptions to their liability. Property owners in premises liability cases may use the “open and obvious” rule as a defense to argue why they should not be held accountable for injuries that resulted from a slip and fall accident on their premises. This is because property owners only have a legal obligation to protect you against the risk of unreasonable hazards. However, this rule does not always apply.

According to the open and obvious rule, a property owner may not be liable for injuries sustained on their property in dangerous conditions. When visitors enter a property, they are expected to exercise discretion when they come across an obvious danger in plain sight. If the hazard that caused your injury was unsafe, and the average, reasonable person would have recognized it, the property owner would not be obligated to address the hazardous condition.

Are there any defenses to this rule?

Fortunately, there are exceptions to the open and obvious defense. Sometimes, a slip-and-fall victim may argue that they were too distracted to notice an open and obvious hazard. In addition to the distraction expectation, the “negligence per se” doctrine can also warrant an exception to this rule. When the negligence per se doctrine is applicable, the injured party is not obligated to prove that a reasonable person would have acted in a certain way. Instead, the property owner would automatically be deemed negligent because their actions violated the law and a reasonable person who did not break the law.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined New York City premises liability lawyer from the legal team at Swerling Law today. Our firm is ready to fight on your behalf to maximize your chances of recovering monetary compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.



To a man who was assaulted at a restaurant and sustained a traumatic brain injury.


Settlement to a barista who slipped and fell on a defective stairwell while working for Starbucks who sustained back injuries requiring multiple surgeries in 2012.


Settlement to a woman who was assaulted and sustained back/hip injuries in 2015.


To a man who sustained back injuries when he was a passenger in the car that rear ended another car.


Verdict to a high school student who was assaulted by a school dean during her lunch period dislocating her hip in 2014.

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