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When Is a Business Responsible for Altercations Occurring on the Premises

If you've been injured in an accident or on the job, the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to hold the party responsible for your injury accountable.

Last Updated: 01-31-2024
Written by: Michael A. Rose and Gregory Hach

When Is a Business Responsible for Altercations Occurring on the Premises

Property owners are responsible for the safety of visitors and customers on their property, but is a business responsible for altercations occurring on the premises? New York premises liability laws can be complicated. How do you know when a violent altercation becomes the responsibility of a careless landlord or property owner?

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are committed to tenaciously protecting the rights of individuals injured on other people’s property. Even in cases of violence like shootings, sexual assaults, and fights, you have rights. Our legal team wants to help you understand these rights and how to protect your interests after you’ve been hurt in an altercation occurring on the premises of someone else’s property in New York.

What Is Premises Liability?

New Yorkers are supposed to feel reasonably safe when leaving their homes to visit friends, go shopping, and engage in day-to-day activities. You don’t expect to encounter a hazardous situation that leaves you physically and financially vulnerable when you go to the grocery store or check into a hotel. Premises liability laws exist to protect individuals from incidents that result from dangerous conditions on another person’s property. These include altercations occurring on the premises.

All New York property owners must ensure their property or business is reasonably free from hazards and dangerous conditions. Slip-and-fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability claim. Most of these claims come from hazardous conditions like uncleared ice, spilled liquids, uneven flooring, and broken stair railings. However, premises liability covers many dangerous property conditions, including criminal or violent activity. These are civil cases, not criminal cases. The aim is to get compensation for the injured party, not to punish the property owner.

Who Is Liable After a Fight?

The New York Department of Health notes that in one recent year, 35.2 of every 100,000 New Yorkers were hospitalized due to assault injuries. All property owners are legally obligated to keep their property reasonably free from safety hazards. However, does that responsibility extend to protecting visitors or patrons when an altercation occurs on the premises? In some cases, yes. Victims of assault may be entitled to seek compensation from a careless property owner if a fight breaks out on their property and the owner does not employ adequate safety measures to protect their patrons.

Are Property Owners Liable for Shooting Injuries?

Yes. Property owners may also be held liable for shooting injuries that occur on their property if reasonable and adequate security measures could have prevented the shooting. However, in cases of gun violence and other assault situations, more than one party may potentially be liable for compensating a victim for their injuries. These parties can include:

  • The shooter or assailant
  • Property owner
  • Management company
  • Security company

An experienced New York personal injury attorney can review the unique circumstances of your case and help identify all liable parties.

Are Landlords Liable for Sexual Assault?

That depends. If the assault occurred in the common areas of a landlord’s property, the landlord may be liable. However, if the assault occurred in a tenant’s residence over which the landlord had no control, it is unlikely that the landlord could be held liable for the victim’s injuries.

How Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable for Altercations Occurring on Their Premises?

Failure to address and implement specific security protocols can expose a property owner to legal liability when a visitor or patron suffers an injury because of an assault. Some of the most common careless security measures that can lead to fights and assaults tend to include:

  • Lack of adequate lighting, especially in parking lots, garages, and stairwells
  • Lack of security cameras placed in prominent locations on the property
  • Lack of working locks on windows and doors
  • Lack of security in place to address known risks in high-crime locations
  • Failure to hire adequate security
  • Failure to train security personnel
  • Failure to post a warning about potential dangers on the premises

Although these are the most common reasons a careless property owner may be held liable for a person’s injuries following a violent encounter, a skilled New York premises liability attorney can review the specifics of your case and identify whether you have a claim against a careless property owner or landlord.

Where Do Violent Altercations Take Place?

Depending on the unique factors of your case, if you are assaulted and injured in an altercation occurring on the premises on another person’s property, you may be able to hold that business or property owner responsible for compensating you for your financial losses. Where do most New York premises liability altercations occur? These are some of the most common locations:

  • Motels/hotels
  • Apartments
  • Bars
  • Clubs
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping Centers
  • Sports stadiums

If you’ve been the victim of assault and battery, sexual assault, or any other violent altercation, discuss the circumstances of your situation with a knowledgeable New York premises liability lawyer.

Proving Premises Liability

When Is a Business Responsible for Altercations Occurring on the PremisesProving a premises liability claim following a shooting or violent altercations occurring on the premises can be challenging. You must establish that the property owner owed you a duty of care, meaning they had a legal obligation to keep you reasonably safe as a patron, resident, visitor, or customer.

Next, you must demonstrate that the property owner knew or should reasonably have known about the dangerous condition of their property. Proving this element is typically the most challenging part of building a strong premises liability claim. There must be evidence showing the owner knew a hazardous condition existed and did not adequately address the problem promptly.

Additionally, you must show that the careless actions or lack thereof by the property owner resulted in your injuries and financial losses.

Building and proving a New York premises liability case against a careless property owner or landlord can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you are coping with the physical and financial fallout of a traumatic event like a shooting, sexual assault, or altercations occurring on the premises. Turning your claim over to an experienced New York premises liability attorney is the best way to seek justice and the compensation you deserve. 

Contact an Experienced New York Premises Liability Attorney Today

An attorney is an advocate. A person who can fight to protect your legal rights and help you navigate this challenging time. A premises liability lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your claim while gathering and preserving valuable evidence. Do not pursue a claim against a careless New York property owner alone. Discuss your situation with an attorney from Hach & Rose, LLP. For nearly 25 years, we’ve helped individuals like you get the compensation and justice they deserve.

Contact our New York office today or call (212) 779-0057 for a free legal consultation.

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