Slip And Fall Cases
Slip And Fall Cases
When someone trips and falls on another person’s or business’ property, this is called a “slip and fall” case. These are sometimes called “premises liability” cases, as “slip and fall” accidents often happen on properties belonging to or are maintained by someone else, and the property’s owner or tenant is held liable.
Slip and fall cases occur most often due to unsafe conditions, such as wet floors without warning signs, carpeting with tears or lumps, lighting problems, or different kinds of flooring in different areas without warning signs. Outside of a building, these unsafe conditions can include poor removal of ice or snow, cracked sidewalks or stairs, or even a pothole. Any of these and many more circumstances can cause someone to slip or trip and be injured.
If you slip or trip, there is no “cut and dried” way of knowing who is liable. The case will likely hinge on whether or not the property owner took steps to reduce the likelihood of people slipping and injuring themselves, or if there were warnings of dangerous conditions. Another aspect is how careful you were in the course of your actions to avoid being injured. Most cases are all about proving that the slip and fall was due to a dangerous situation on the property that the landowner or property tenant knew about, that was a danger to visitors to the property, and that visitors to the property would not be expecting to encounter. This last element is the assumption that people are responsible for themselves, and are aware of noticeable hazards.
To prove that the property owner or tenant knew about the hazard, one or more of the following must be proven: The landowner or tenant made the condition; or that the landowner or tenant knew about it and did not repair or maintain it; or that the hazard was on the property for such a long amount of time that it is reasonable to expect that the landlord or tenant should have discovered the problem and made efforts to repair it prior to you getting hurt.
Proving a landowner’s or a tenant’s liability in a slip and fall case means that it must be shown how the landowner or tenant did not uphold his or her duty to you through negligence. For example, if you slip and fall in a spill at a store, you could make the argument that the store is liable for your injury because the store did not inspect the area and clean up the spill. Another way to prove negligence is to prove that the landowner or tenant did not adhere to building codes by providing adequate safety measures (such as handrails where required by law, for instance).
To recover damages due to a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property, there must be someone who is responsible for the upkeep or repairs to the property, and the negligence in not performing those duties caused your injury.
In the case of slip and fall injuries on commercial properties, liability for injuries sustained on the property must have been caused by negligence by the store or its employees by creating the problem (spilling something, damaging the flooring, or an employee accidentally tripping someone); knowing about the problem and not doing anything about it (such as spilling a drink in a restaurant and leaving it); or knowing about problems and failing to repair them (such as not replacing worn or torn carpeting).
Common sense dictates liability in these last kinds of cases. If a property owner or tenant could even be expected to have known about a problem, then the owner or occupier of a property could be held liable for injuries sustained because of that problem. For instance, if a business has worn carpeting that presents a tripping hazard, it is common sense that most reasonable owners would have that carpeting replaced before someone is injured by tripping on it. Failure to remove and/or replace the carpeting could mean that the owner or tenant is liable for injuries sustained by that defect.
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