When a person is injured on another’s property or premises because of negligence, he or she may have a claim for personal injuries. A premises liability case may include a fall down a staircase because of broken steps or poor lighting, or a fall because of a slippery substance on the floor. The premises involved can be a commercial building, a supermarket, an apartment house or a private house.

Other types of premises liability accidents can involve defective or malfunctioning elevators such as when an elevator does not stop level with the floor or drops suddenly. Defective escalators can also cause accidents.

Premises owners and landlords have a responsibility to provide reasonable security to those on their property. When a serious crime occurs on the premises such as an attack, rape or murder, a property owner may be responsible if the crime could have been prevented by better security.

Premises owners may also be liable for dog-bites and animal attacks on those on their premises. Dog owners whose dogs have shown aggression in the past may be liable when their dogs attack and injure another person.


Municipal Liability cases are those against the state, county, city or town. These claims often have special laws and regulations that affect the rights of the plaintiff and even in what court a claim must be brought. Liability of a municipality can occur in many different situations.

One very important law affecting the responsibility of municipalities concerns the short time period for bringing a claim, much shorter than for claims involving other defendants. Generally, a municipality must be given written notice of a claim within 90 days of its occurrence. In addition, a lawsuit against a municipality must be commenced within one year and ninety days of the occurrence.

Perhaps the most frequent type of claim against a municipality involves a sidewalk defect such as a crack, hole, broken and uneven concrete or missing concrete. Generally, the municipality must have prior notice of the defect before it can be held liable.

Municipal liability also involves other areas in which the municipality is providing services such as transportation, for example, bus and subway accidents. Premises liability cases can be brought where the municipality, such as a housing authority, owns or manages the property. When the municipality
operates a school it may be responsible for accidents and incidents involving school children, teachers or other people at the school.

Cases against the police department for police brutality, excessive force or civil rights violations are also municipal liability cases. These cases may involve the mistreatment of suspects under police custody and the unjustified use of deadly force. The shorter time periods for bringing a claim also apply in these cases.


1. Call emergency personnel and wait for them to arrive;

2. Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses;

3. Consult a premises liability lawyer such as Michael J. Asta as soon as possible following an accident.