If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, the owner of the property may be responsible for your injuries. Determining liability in any personal injury incident is a key element in any case. Thousands of people are injured each year when they trip, or slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, an uneven floor, a flight of stairs, or a rough patch of ground. In some cases, the property owner or manager may be held liable if they knew about the situation prior and did nothing to fix or remedy the hazard. Slip and fall accidents can occur in department stores, peoples homes, hotels, shopping malls, and many other locations.
If you were injured at work, a claim must be filed under your state’s worker’s compensation laws.
Determining Who is at Fault
Premises liability law covers slip and fall and other types of accidents caused by dangerous conditions on someone else’s property. In order for a property owner to be held legally responsible for injuries sustained by an individual slipping and falling, one of the following must be true:
- That the property owner knew about the dangerous condition and did not attempt to correct it
- The property owner should have known about the dangerous condition and should have taken steps to prevent injuries, as a “reasonable person” would have done
- That the property owner created the dangerous condition which led to the accident
Liability is often decided by common sense. Most judges and juries determine whether the owner or occupier of the property was careful by deciding if the owner or occupier took the proper steps to keep the property safe. When making this determination, the law concentrates on whether the owner makes a regular effort to keep the property safe, clean and up to the proper code.
Other factors that may be taken into consideration when determining fault may include:
- How long had the dangerous condition existed and did the owner have time to be knowledgeable about the situation and fix it?
- If the owner did attempt to remedy the situation, were his or her actions appropriate and reasonable?
- Was the victim careless in his or her actions, thereby contributing to the accident?
Some states have what’s called “comparative negligence” laws, which means that the injured person can also be held to varying degrees of responsibility for an injury. If the victim ignored posted warning signs or acted carelessly, they can also be held liable for the accident. Comparative negligence statutes will determine who will receive compensation for their losses and how much they are eligible to receive.
Getting Legal Help
Attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases will advise you that it’s best to retain a lawyer to investigate your claim as soon as possible. These attorneys generally focus on several areas of law, including auto accidents, on-the-job injuries, insurance claims and even wrongful death cases. Personal injury lawyers usually have a large amount of slip and fall cases and will be experienced in how to handle your case. They can often get a settlement without having to go to court, which can save the victim lots of time and money.