Who is responsible if you are injured due to a slip or fall? Thousands of people are injured yearly in slip and fall accidents, through no fault of their own. If you or a loved one has tripped and fallen on a wet floor, a rough patch of ground, or defective stairs and been injured, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Sometimes the property owner is responsible for the accident, and sometimes they are not. A slip and fall lawyer can help determine whether or not you have a case.
Contact LJW Legal today for a free case evaluation.
Factors that Determine a Slip and Fall Settlement
If you have been injured on a slip or fall accident, the first thing to realize is it is not unusual for things to drip or fall onto the ground or the floor, or for surfaces to be uneven. And, somethings are put into the ground on purpose, such as sprinklers.
A property owner or occupant cannot always be considered responsible for not immediately removing or cleaning up everything that falls on the ground or the floor. Nor are they always responsible for someone tripping over something they should be expected to have seen. We all have a responsibility to watch where we are going. However, property owners and occupants are expected to keep up their property.
Slip and Fall Accidents Overview
A slip and fall injury case will depend on whether or not the property owner acted carefully, so that slip or fall was unlikely to happen and whether you simply weren’t paying attention. Here are some things to consider in slip and fall cases.
Theories of Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
At least one of the following must be true in order to for a property owner or occupant to be liable for injuries incurred by a slip or fall on their premises:
- The owner, employee, or occupant caused the dangerous condition.
- The owner, employee, or occupant knew the conditions were dangerous and did nothing about it.
- The owner, employee, or occupant should have known of the danger caused by the obstacle or surface because a “reasonable” person would have discovered and repaired or removed it.
The latter situation above is the most common, but is also not as clear-cut as the other two, due to the words “should have known.” In slip and fall cases, liability is generally determined by common sense. The judge and jury decide whether the owner, employee, or occupier of the property in question was careful. They review the steps taken to ensure the property was safe were reasonable.
Proving Negligence and Liability
This brings us to what is reasonable. Any claim of negligence rests on whether the defendant acted reasonably. In determining reasonableness, the law focuses on whether the owner regularly takes the proper steps to ensure the property is clean and safe. Here are some ways you can determine if a business or property owner may be considered liable for your slip or fall injuries.
- If you tripped over a broken, torn, or bulging area of floor, carpet, or ground, or slipped on a loose or wet area, was the dangerous area long enough that the owner, employee, or occupant should have known about it?
- Does the owner, employee, or occupant have a regular procedure for examining, cleaning, and repairing the premises? Does the owner have proof of routine maintenance?
- If you slipped on or tripped over an object someone left on the ground or floor, was there a reason the object was left there?
- If, in the past, there had been a reason for the object to be where it was, but there is no longer a reason, could the object have been covered, removed, or covered to be safe?
- Was there a safer spot the object could have been placed, or could it have been stored in a safer manner, without undue inconvenience to expense?
- Could a simple fence or barrier have been created or some kind of warning given to keep people from tripping or slipping?
- Did bad or broken lighting contribute to the slip or fall accident?
If the answers to one or more of the questions above come out in your favor, you might have a good claim for compensation. However, you must still consider whether or not your own carelessness played a significant role in the accident.
Proving You Didn’t Cause the Accident
In almost all slip and fall cases, you must determine if your carelessness had anything to do with the accident. This is where comparative negligence comes in. Comparative negligence is used to measure your own reasonableness in the situation. Was it reasonable for you to go where you did, in the way you did just prior to the accident? There are some questions to ask to determine if your actions could be considered reasonable. An insurance adjuster will definitely ask them when you file your claim.
- Was your reason for being in the dangerous area legitimate – something the owner, employee, or occupant should have anticipated?
- Was the obstacle or danger something a careful person would have noticed and avoided? Or walked carefully enough to not slip or fall?
- Were there any warnings that the area might be dangerous?
- Did any of your actions distract from paying attention to where you were going? Were you jumping, running, of fooling around in a way that increased the chances of your slipping or falling?
You don’t have to offer proof to an insurance adjuster that you were careful but think back on what you were doing and describe it clearly so that the insurance adjuster will know that you were not careless.
Slip and Fall on Commercial Property
If you slip and fall on commercial property and it is not your fault, the property owner will probably be held liable for any injuries you incur. However, the party leasing or renting the space, a maintenance company, customer/visitor may also be held responsible.
To prove that the accident was the business owner’s fault, you must have proof of a dangerous condition as outlined above. In addition, you may also be able to prove that they violated a relevant statute. For instance, if the owner ignored the safety requirements listed in building codes.
Slip and Fall on Residential Property
If you slip and fall on residential property, the homeowner can be held liable for the fall if they were negligent, and they were responsible for the unsafe condition. A homeowner is not responsible when it was an individual’s own negligence that caused their fall.
Slip and Fall on Government Property
After a slip and fall on government-owned property, any injury claim you make will likely be governed by strict procedural rules. The key thing to understand is that the government has passed laws that place strict procedural requirements on the filing of any injury claim against it.
Common Injuries Associated with Slip and Fall Accidents Overview
Common slip and fall injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe contusions
- Joint dislocations
- Muscle tears
The amount of damage caused by a slip and fall accident depends on different factors that vary from case to case. For example, a fall from an elevation will usually cause injuries that are more serious injuries than those from a fall on one level. And a fall in the adjacent structures or objects that can increase the chances of blunt force trauma is often worse than those that don’t.
Categories of Compensation for Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall accidents can leave victims with devastating injuries for which they deserve compensation. Categories of compensation that attorneys fight for in slip and fall cases are:
- Lost Wages
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses
How to Win a Slip and Fall Case
There are a few steps you should take after a slip and fall accident to increase your chances of winning your case:
- Get immediate medical attention.
- Preserve the evidence of the scene.
- Protect your legal rights.
Learn more about what to do after a slip and fall accident. All cases are different, so if you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall accident and are seeking compensation, contact LJW Legal, or call 954-597-6770 for a free case evaluation.