Are Commercial Landlords Liable for On-Premises Injuries in NYC?

In New York City, you are either a landlord or a tenant. Renting spaces is so common that only a select few people own their properties. While many landlords are private people who rent apartments and homes to other private people, some landlords rent commercial spaces. Every business you walk past is probably leasing its space from a commercial landlord.

In case of an on-premises injury, you might be able to hold the commercial landlord liable. Commercial landlords and tenants have very different rights and responsibilities than those renting private living spaces. Their rental agreement and contract with the tenant will largely dictate the responsibilities of a commercial landlord.

If you were injured in a commercial space, you might sue the tenant occupying the space or the commercial landlord who owns it, depending on the circumstances. Our NYC premises liability attorneys can help you. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case review.

Can I Sue a Commercial Landlord for On-Premises Injuries in NYC?

If you were hurt in a commercial space like a retail store or restaurant, you might be wondering who you can sue for damages. On the one hand, you might want to sue the business occupying the space. On the other hand, you might also want to sue the person who owns the space and leases it to the business.

While it is possible to sue a commercial landlord for injuries sustained on their premises, it is not always guaranteed. Commercial landlords have different responsibilities than private ones. One of the starkest differences is that commercial landlords do not have to adhere to an implied warranty of habitability. This warranty ordinarily requires landlords to keep the premises adequately safe to live in. Since people do not actually live in commercial spaces, this warrant does not apply to commercial landlords.

The exact responsibilities of commercial landlords may vary from case to case. A commercial landlord’s responsibilities – and potential liability – are usually dictated by the contact between them and the commercial tenant.

The business tenant is often the party responsible for making a commercial space safe for customers, clients, and other guests. However, it might not be possible to know who you should sue without speaking to both the tenant and the commercial landlord. Our NYC personal injury attorneys can help you begin legal proceedings and determine whom to sue.

Do I Blame the Commercial Landlord or Tenant in a Premises Liability Case in NYC?

To determine whom you should sue for your injuries, you will need to understand the contract between the tenant and the commercial landlord in your case. Commercial landlords have fewer inherent responsibilities, and most of their responsibilities are determined by the contract with the commercial tenant. Whether or not you can sue the commercial landlord in your premises liability case will depend on how the landlord and commercial tenant have divided responsibilities.

Commercial Landlord

The responsibilities of a commercial landlord largely depend on the contract they have with their tenant. The rights and responsibilities are contained predominantly within the lease agreement between the two. When it comes to commercial properties, commercial landlords have fewer responsibilities prescribed by law than private landlords.

One example is the infamous icy sidewalk. A commercial landlord may or may not be responsible for keeping icy walkways safe, depending on the lease agreement with the commercial tenant. For example, a mall might have to clear the sidewalks and parking lots of snow rather than any individual tenant within the mall. Their lease agreement will usually dictate which party is responsible for snow removal.

It might not be possible to know the true responsibilities of the commercial landlord in your case until we see the contract with the commercial tenant.

Commercial Tenant

Commercial landlords tend to draw up contracts that are more favorable to them and place more responsibilities, and therefore liability, on commercial tenants. However, most of the day-to-day maintenance of commercial premises often falls on the shoulder of the business occupying the space.

Things like keeping floors clean, performing normal repairs, and maintaining general safety standards are typically the duties of the commercial tenant. Commercial tenants must also keep up with standards imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

For example, many commercial leases allow business tenants to alter a space before opening for business. If a tenant installs uneven floors that cause you to trip and fall, the tenant, not the landlord, would likely be liable.

How Do I Know Who I Should Sue for On-Premises Injuries on a Commercial Property in NYC?

As you can no doubt tell, it is very difficult to understand whom you should sue after an injury on commercial premises. Immediately after an accident, you probably would not know the contract details between the business tenant and the commercial landlord. Our NYC premises liability lawyers can help you investigate the situation and determine the best person to sue.

A more diplomatic approach is to contact both parties and discuss the possibility of a lawsuit. The parties could disclose which one is the responsible party and might be open to settlement. However, they might also close ranks and leave us with little to no information. If that is the case, our experienced Bronx personal injury attorneys can press the case in court.

What Happens After I File a Lawsuit Against a Commercial Landlord in NYC?

After we file your lawsuit against the commercial landlord responsible for your accident and injuries, we might have several courses of legal action to choose from. First, we can prepare for a full trial. This will require evidence and legal strategy to support our claims for damages. There will also be numerous pre-trial meetings and hearings to deal with before the trial, and it could be a long time before our case goes in front of a judge.

Another option is to negotiate a settlement agreement with the commercial landlord. We will need information and evidence that establishes the severity of your injuries and the value of your damages. Hopefully, we can reach a settlement that fulfills your financial needs. However, settlement agreements often take time and intense negotiations to reach. The stronger your case is, the more likely we can reach a fast, favorable settlement.

Discuss the full extent of your legal options when suing a commercial landlord with our Staten Island personal injury attorneys.

Reach Out to Our NYC Premises Liability Attorneys for Advice and Assistance

If you were injured in an on-premises accident and wish to sue the commercial landlord, call our Long Island personal injury attorneys. We can help you get your damages covered by the parties responsible. Call The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083 for a free case evaluation.