At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, we condemn discrimination, hatred, and racism of any type. We also appreciate Asian Americans as an invaluable part of our society. Asian Americans are our fellow school children, neighbors, co-workers, and care providers. While many Asian Americans have placed themselves in harm’s way to provide care during the pandemic, they often cannot walk down the street without the fear of becoming the victim of assault. Asian Americans are Americans in the same way that everyone else is. This means that Asian-Americans bring a unique and sparkling diversity to our community, and it is that diversity that has made America a great country.
Unfortunately, hate crimes against Asian-Americans have spiked 149% between 2019 to 2020 even though the overall rate of hate crimes declined. While it is sometimes possible to pursue compensation against the person who attacked you, it is also possible to seek payment from the owner of the premises where the attack occurred. If you or a loved one was subject to anti-Asian violence in New York, you should reach out to an experienced premises liability lawyer.
Premise Liability Cases in Long Island, NY
In New York state, the owner of a property has a legal obligation to maintain a property in a reasonable and safe condition. What reasonable and safe means, however, varies. When a property owner fails to maintain a property and someone else is injured as a result, the injured party can pursue a premise liability claim.
To prevail with a premise liability claim in a New York court, a plaintiff is required to show that the owner of a property created a dangerous condition on that property, knew that the dangerous condition existed, or should have known that the dangerous condition existed and should have repaired it. When a property owner has notice of a dangerous condition of a property and fails to remedy the condition, the property owner may subsequently be found negligent. New York law, however, also evaluates the negligence of other parties, including the victim.
New York state created the category of “dangerous conditions on a property,” which is utilized as a catch-all for any dangerous condition on a property that leads to harm. This category includes situations in which a property owner permits dangerous conditions that are conducive for an attack against an Asian-American to be made on the premises.
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How Liability is Handled in Premise Liability Cases
Negligence cases require the accident victim or the victim’s attorney to establish that both a duty as well as a breach of that duty have occured. This can make it difficult to prove that dangerous conditions on someone’s property enabled an attack to occur there and amounted to negligence on the part of the property owner.
Unless a property owner actually created a dangerous condition, a premise liability case requires notice of the dangerous condition. This notice can be actual or constructive, which means that a dangerous condition might have existed for a long enough time that an owner should have discovered and remedied the condition.
If a property owner either knows or should have known about a dangerous condition, the question arises of whether the landowner did enough to satisfy their duty to address the situation and maintain the property in a safe condition. When a property owner does nothing, it is often easier to argue that a breach of duty occurred. If a landowner has undertaken some efforts to try to remedy such a condition, it will likely be much more difficult to argue for compensation.
The Issue of Foreseeability
Many premise liability cases hinge on the issue of foreseeability and whether a property owner could have foreseen the possibility of a violent act. Deciding whether a property owner should have foreseen an act depends on analyzing various factors including the history of the neighborhood and whether any previous similar acts had occurred there. Courts also often acknowledge a sharp difference between violent and non-violent offenses. This means that if a premise saw countless non-violent offenses, a violent offense occurring at the location might still not have been foreseeable. Courts will analyze the crime rate in the area. This means that if a property is located in an area with a high rate of violent property acts, it was likely foreseeable to a property owner that a violent act could occur on the property.
How Property Owners Can Secure Their Premises From Violence
A property owner must take the necessary steps to make sure a property is safe for visitors. What security is necessary depends on several factors, including the location of the property as well type of business that is conducted there. Some of the most common types of security actions that are taken to keep property safe include:
- Creating an ongoing and direct relationship with local law enforcement.
- Creating a violence prevention board.
- Hiring and retaining adequately equipped security staff.
- Installing alarms to both scare off those who commit violent acts and notify authority.
- Installing security cameras to monitor any unsafe activity that occurs on the premises.
- Keeping all fencing and surrounding gates in good condition.
- Keeping all locks in workable condition.
- Keeping a minimal amount of cash in the building. This way, there is less of a danger of robbery or theft-based violent acts on the property.
- Making sure that a property is sufficiently lit.
- Minimizing the number of outsiders in a building through the use of electronic keys and badges. Staff might even be hired to deal with outsiders in a building.
- Telling employees and workers to not enter any location in the building where they feel unsafe. Or, you might suggest people utilize a “buddy system” in unsafe areas.
- Warning customers and other building visitors if the area has a high crime rate. This way people can act with the appropriate degree of caution.
Remember, if someone is attacked outside of a property owner’s premise and it can be established that the premise owner failed to take adequate safety measures to keep visitors safe, the premise owner could very well end up liable for the resulting damage.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney in Long Island
If you or a loved one has been the victim of Anti-Asian violence and a property owner played a role in causing the crash, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.