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Can You Sue a Commercial Landlord for Premises Liability Injuries in NYC?

Renting office space in the city may be expensive, and may carry certain challenges – but those challenges should never include injury. In many office buildings and other commercial properties, there are common areas that different renters and lessees share. If you are injured inside a commercial property on your way to work or while going into a business, you may be able to file a lawsuit for your injuries. In many situations, you may be able to sue the landlord for the property rather than the business you work for or the business you were gong to. Talk to a personal injury attorney about your case, like the Queens premises liability attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw.

Suing a Building Owner for Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Injuries

Commercial properties are often subdivided into multiple properties, which the owner of the building rents out. Much of the commercial real estate in NYC is owned by large companies that manage the properties, rather than the companies whose offices are located inside the buildings.

Because ownership is divided among multiple groups and people, it may be confusing as to who is responsible for what areas of the building. Each office, store, or other unit inside of the building is usually the responsibility of the company that leases that space. That means that if you were injured in a particular store or office, you may be able to sue the company that runs that store or office. If you were injured in a hallway, a stairwell, or a shared bathroom, those areas are often still under the direct control of the landlord for the building, and you may be able to sue them instead.

Some landlords are more hands-on than others. If a building superintendent or landlord is responsible for maintenance or upkeep tasks inside of a rented property, any injuries related to those areas may also be the landlord’s responsibility. For instance, if you are injured by a collapsing hand rail or staircase inside of a rental property, or because of ongoing construction, it may be within the landlord’s control. If this is the building owner’s responsibility, you can likely sue them instead of the store or office.

Suing a Commercial Property for Injuries in New York

Building owners, whether commercial or private, owe guests and visitors certain duties. Especially if the location is a store or an office where people are invited to the office on business, these visitors should be kept safe. The primary duty that property owners owe guests is to keep the property free of hidden dangers. This means repairing any potential risks, cleaning up spills or debris, making sure hand rails and railings are sturdy, and ensuring good lighting conditions. If a danger cannot be repaired, property owners must at least warn people of the danger. This is why yellow “Wet Floor” signs are common to prevent slip and fall injuries.

To sue a property owner for injuries sustained in a fall or because of other hidden dangers, you must prove that they negligently allowed you to be injured. This means showing the duty that they owed you, that they failed to carry out that duty, and that that failure caused your rental property injuries.

As discussed above, some duties are divided between lessees and the commercial property owner. Determining which party the duty falls on is often the key to determining who you sue for the accident. In many cases, you may be able to sue a landlord and the company that rents the unit where you were injured, and the jury can decide the division of blame later.

If you were injured by a hidden danger that the property owner should have made safe or warned you about, the lawsuit is often successful. However, there are some complications that may block your case against the property owner:

  • If the property owner is able to shift the blame to the holder of the commercial lease, your lawsuit against a landlord for injuries may fail.
  • If there was a warning sign or other safety device (like “Caution” tape or a series of traffic cones), the property owner may have fulfilled their duty to warn you about the danger.
  • If the danger was open and obvious, such as a fire pit at an outdoor restaurant, it may not be a “hidden” danger the owner needed to warn you about, eliminating the duty to warn or repair.

Every personal injury lawsuit also has a strict time limit, known as the “statute of limitations.” Your case must be filed inside this time limit, or it may be blocked entirely. Because of this, it is vital to take your case to an attorney as soon as you can.

New York City Premises Liability Lawyers

If you or a loved one was injured in your office building, at an office you visited, or at a store or restaurant, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, you may be able to sue the commercial property owner or landlord for the injuries you sustained. For a free consultation on your case, talk to a personal injury lawyer today. The Queens personal injury lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw may be able to take your case and fight to have your injuries compensated. For a free consultation on your case, call our law offices today at (718) 843-0300.


Over our many years practicing personal injury law, our highly experienced legal team has earned a reputation for excellence. Our attorneys have appeared on major media outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC . Our firm’s legal accomplishments have been profiled by the New York Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times, ESPN, and the Associated Press. We have won multiple verdicts in excess of $1 million, making us proud members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious organization which admits fewer than 1% of all attorneys in the United States. We were named Super Lawyers in 2011, and enjoy a perfect 10/10 Superb rating on national attorney database Avvo.

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