When Does a Slip and Fall Accident Warrant An Injury Claim?
Slip and fall accidents are a fairly common occurrence. Slip and fall accidents are often classified under a broad category of personal injury cases known as premises liability claims since the ‘incident’ occurred in the premises or the property owned or maintained by another person or an organization. In many cases, the property owner or manager can be assigned responsibility and accountability for the accident. However, in some instances, there can be no one to blame but the person who fell. It is for this reason that some folks would like to know when their slip and fall accident warrants bringing an injury claim.
A successful Slip and Fall Accident Claim requires the injured party to prove 2 elements: (1) the property owner/manager breached a duty resulting in the fall and (2) injuries were sustained as a result of the fall.
A property owner has a duty to (a) maintain their property in a reasonably safe fashion and (b) warn guest of, or correct, any non-obvious hazards which the property owner has knowledge of. Proving a property owner breached their duty to maintain reasonably safe premises can be pretty straightforward. Inadequate lighting, poor condition of the floor tiles or ripped carpeting qualify as dangerous conditions which tends to prove a property owner failed to maintain reasonably safe premises. As it relates to part (b), it is more difficult to prove a property owner had knowledge of a specific defect. Nevertheless, the knowledge element is often proven by demonstrating one of the following:
- prior falls due to the same or similar conditions,
- prior complaints of the hazard,
- length of time it took the hazard to develop (i.e. slow forming pothole)
- length of time the hazard existed (i.e. yellow v. brown banana peel on the floor)
- lack of regular maintenance or inspection process
- The owner of the property knew of the existence of the condition yet did not do anything to correct it; or
- The dangerous condition has been around for quite some time to allow for its discovery and the initiation of corrective measures prior to the occurrence of the slip and fall accident.
Who Should Be Responsible For Slip and Fall Accidents?
Assigning fault in a slip and fall accident claim is usually not straightforward. Again, it is all a matter of proving who has knowledge of what and whether this person acted accordingly to address or manage the said condition to help prevent accidents. That being said, if the owner of the property exercised all the precautionary measures to prevent accidents, yet someone still slipped and fell resulting in injuries, then determining accountability can be quite challenging.
For example, if a section of the flooring is wet and the owner of the property has already placed adequate barriers and warning signs telling other persons not to walk on the area, yet someone still walked through the area in question and slipped and fell, it is especially obvious that blame cannot be assigned to the owner of the property. The accident was caused in part by the injured person’s lack of understanding of the presence of barriers and adequate appropriate warnings not to walk over the area.
What Should I Do Next?
If you think you’re a victim of someone else’s negligence that resulted in your slipping and falling, causing you to sustain physical injuries, your next course of action is to seek a review of your personal injury claim. At Aronberg, Aronberg, & Green Injury Law Firm you can count on us to use our extensive knowledge and experience handling such cases to give you a much better insight on what you can expect should you decide to pursue legal action. CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION