Slip and fall accidents are one of the major causes of injury in our country today. Losing our grip to the floor can because of a number of things. It can be uneven ground, wet floors, ice on sidewalks or stairs that haven’t been properly maintained, or any number of issues. If you were to fall down at someone else’s home and get injured, or you’re visiting a property, you may have the basis of being able to bring a liability lawsuit against the person who owns the property. It all depends on the visitor status and why they’re on the property in the first place. If you happen to be the owner of a property and this has happened to you, you may need to search injury lawyers near you.
In the vast majority of circumstances, someone who enters your property must have a good reason to be there. It could be that they’re renting a unit from you, you’re just the landlord, or their friend or family member visiting. Maybe you’re selling the house and having an open house for us to come take a look. In these instances, you would make sure to provide reasonable care for your property. That means maintaining it so that it is completely safe.
That reasonable care means looking after the property. Have you checked it to see if anything is uneven, broken, or creating a hazard? Is anything spilled that might cause one to slip and fall down? This would be completely under your responsibility and if you fail to do your duty as a home and property owner to keep someone safe, you might be held liable for the injury. The only case in which this is not true is if someone is trespassing on your property.
Slip and Fall Victim
If you find yourself the victim of a slip and fall accident, it can be devastating to your life. You could end up with a severe injury and/or loss of income from losing out work. This is not a good position to be an and you would most likely need to recover damages from the person who didn’t take care of their property. From this point, your goal would be to prove that they were indeed negligent and that it caused your injuries.
This means that they knew about the hazardous situation on their property and they did absolutely nothing to fix it. They assumed it would be okay, but you still ended up getting injured on their property. This can be very difficult to prove in court, as the owner of the property could easily state that they had no idea. For example, would you expect the store owner to know that the floor is wet for a long period of time?
This is the big question at hand. Did the owner know about the hazardous surface? Did the owner do everything that they can to warn the customer that the floor was wet? Simply put, if they failed to let you know that the floor was wet and it had been wet for a long time, then they are liable for your slip and fall injury. But proving that can be the most difficult part of the case.
Factors to Consider
If you’re not sure whether the owner of the property is negligent, there are several factors free to look at:
- How long has the hazard been in the area?
- Does the property owner take care of the property as a whole?
- Do they routinely check their property for hazards?
- What might’ve caused the hazardous condition to form? Was it neglect?
- Were there any warning signs in the area alerting you to the potential danger?
- Did you have enough visibility of the area?
Potential Defenses for a Slip-and-Fall
It is unreasonable to assume that any property owner would be able to prevent 100% of the falls that might occur on the grounds. Even if they do use proper care and take care of their property, there’s still a good chance that something could happen. There are such things as black ice that can be nearly impossible to spot. The hazard might’ve been created recently due to a storm and the owner had no idea about it.
You as the visitor to someone’s property must also use reasonable care and watch where you’re going. If you had your nose in your phone as you are walking and not paying attention to your surroundings, it’s not someone else’s fault that you were injured. It’s good to be fair about these types of situations and not expects liability from someone who took reasonable care and did well to maintain their property the best they could.
With this being said, you should be aware of every defense made against the plaintiff in these types of cases. More often than not, the defense will say that the plaintiff wasn’t paying attention. They weren’t careful enough and so they themselves are solely responsible for the injury that they occurred. No one is going to want to admit fault here. The defense will fight it as hard as they can to prevent being held liable for damages.
If you were in any way responsible for even part of your injury, then there’s something called comparative negligence that you should be aware of. For example, you slipped and fell in the store and became injured. You may decide to sue the store to recover damages for your injury, but the real question is whether you saw the yellow cone warning you of water on the floor or not. If you missed it because you weren’t paying attention, then you were distracted and you were at fault for your own injuries.
It will come down to what each state expects in terms of what you can recover damages. Even if you are a tiny bit responsible for your own accident, you will not be awarded anything. Other states that allow comparative negligence may dock the reward you receive by the percentage of which you are negligent for your own injury. They will try to even out the damages between the store owner and yourself as much as possible.
This is also true if you were trespassing someone’s property. You are negligent and avoided the signs that told you to keep out. You did not belong there, so you don’t get the right to sue them for your injuries. If you’re running through someone’s yard instead of keeping to the sidewalk and you end up tripping, you are off the path and not where you were supposed to be. The homeowner wouldn’t be held liable for your injury.
To help you navigate the laws in your area for these types of cases, you should contact an injury lawyer right away.