Personal Injury Law (Accidents/Slip & Fall)/Apartment fall


A family member slipped on ice and fell down slope which was open (gate was open) to tenants to avoid walking in the road which is marked for 45 miles per hour traffic (no sidewalk). This is in the state of New York after lengthy snows. He never addressed the icy path which has been used for many years. Since then we have found an attorney to handle his case due to tib/fib breaks followed by surgery.  Does the attorney send paperwork certified to the property owner stating intentions to represent the case? How is this done? I am wondering as I am now sending rent certified for obvious reasons. He tried to charge "late fee and process server fee" ($100 total) of which I told him via letter do not apply as rent was on time and provided a tracking number. He told me that he does not have the time to sign for certified rent checks as he is in the field and only stops into the post office at night. I am sticking to certified regardless, however does this mean that if he ignores certified mail he may not know he is being sued? How does this affect the case?

Thanks for your time.


You raise two questions: one concerns payment of rent and the second contacting a defendant, in this case, the landlord, in a personal injury matter.

Your lease should stipulate how you are to pay the rent. If you are worried about documenting the timing of when the rent is delivered, I can suggest two options:

1.   Hand deliver the check and ask for a receipt
2.   Deliver the check via a means that will enable you to record the time delivered. The U.S. Postal Service will do that for priority and express mail and private options (e.g., FedEx, UPS, etc.) offer the same

It sounds as if you have an attorney representing your family member. You should consult with that attorney about the payment of the rent and the notice given to the defendant. In slip and fall cases, we usually send a claim letter to the defendant to prompt the defendant to contact his or her insurance company. We will send that letter in multiple ways and will keep doing so until we receive a reply from the defendant or an insurance company.

If you file suit in New York, you must serve the summons and complaint on the defendant. Your attorney can advise you on this process. There are three options for serving the Summons and Complaint:

•   Personal Service: This requires that the process server give the Summons and Complaint directly to the defendant. We usually use personal service when serving a Summons and Complaint on a person, such as a driver in a motor vehicle case or a doctor in a medical malpractice case.

•   Substituted Delivery: This requires that the process server give the Summons and Complaint to someone other than the defendant either at the defendant’s residence or place of business. For example, if a defendant’s mother accepts the Summons and Complaint that constitutes substituted delivery. For a corporation registered in New York State, we can serve the summons on the New York Secretary of State, who then notifies the corporate contact on file. We must follow this service with a mailed copy of the Summons and Complaint.

•   Conspicuous Delivery: If we cannot find the defendant or someone at the defendant’s residence or place of business, then the process server can leave the documents in a conspicuous location at the residence or place of business. This delivery option is sometimes known as “Nail and Mail,” because we follow with a mailed copy of the Summons and Complaint.

In all three options, the process server must provide us with an affidavit of service, which is a sworn statement stating that they served the Summons and Complaint. We then file the affidavit of service with the Court.

I hope this information helps.  

Personal Injury Law (Accidents/Slip & Fall)

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Carol L. Schlitt


I am a New York personal injury attorney with over 20 years experience handling car accident and motor vehicle cases, slip and fill cases, medical malpractice, premises liability, pedestrian and bicycle accidents and personal injury cases. I have been named Municipal Attorney of the Year in New York City and had my cases listed among Top Ten Verdicts in New York. I publish the leading legal blog, New York Law Thoughts. I am active in the New York Trial Lawyers Association, and the Bar Associations of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Suffolk.


I am a New York personal injury attorney with over 20 years experience. I previously served as Associate Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department and was named New York Municipal Attorney of the Year. I served as Lead Trial Counsel for Manhattan Law firm of Acito and Klein. I have led my solo law practice for over ten years focused on personal injury and medical malpractice awards. My cases have been listed among the Top Trial Verdicts. I publish the leading legal blog, New York Law Thoughts. I am active in the New York Trial Lawyers Association and the Bar Associations of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Suffolk and I serve as a judge in the national collegiate moot court competition. I am admitted to practice in New York and the Federal District Courts, Eastern and Southern Districts.

• American Trial Lawyers Association • New York State Bar Association • New York State Trial Lawyers Association • Bronx Bar Association • Brooklyn Bar Association • Suffolk County Bar Association • Holy Cross Alumni Lawyer’s Guild • St. John's University Alumni Association • National Association for Female Executives

My writings have appeared in Newsday, The Long Islander, the Times of Huntington and the legal blog, New York Law Thoughts.

I received my undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and graduated from St. John’s University Law School. I have taken graduate courses at New York University.

Awards and Honors
• Named Municipal Attorney of the Year • Cases listed among the Top Ten Verdicts in New York State • My blog, New York Law Thoughts, has been listed as one of the leading U.S. Law Blogs

Past/Present Clients
I have had hundreds of clients over my 20 plus years as an attorney. All of my current clients are individuals living in the New York metropolitan area (Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester). I can provide references upon request.

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