Everyone slips or falls a few times in their lives. Sometimes it is simply clumsiness that causes us to lose our footing. Other times it is because unsafe conditions were present that should have been remedied by the property owner.
It is true that if you slip and fall on someone else’s property due to an unsafe situation that the property owner should have known about and corrected, the property owner may be liable for your injuries, but proving that the property owner is liable can be a difficult task. If you receive any pushback from the property owner or his or her insurance company, you may need qualified personal injury lawyers on your side.
The first key to a successful slip and fall case is determining liability. Simply sustaining an injury is not enough to prove liability, as people can be injured during a fall that they were responsible for, such as tripping over untied shoelaces. To be considered liable, the property owner (or their employee, in the case of a business) must have either caused the dangerous conditions, been aware of the risk and chosen not to act, or known that danger existed based on what a reasonable person would have known.
What this boils down to is the concept of negligence. In most cases, the situation is not as cut and dry as the owner causing the situation or being aware of the conditions and choosing to ignore them. Instead, most cases are based on the concept that the owner should have known. Ultimately, it is whether or not the issue was one of common sense.
How a Lawyer can Help
Experts in personal injury law understand what it takes to prove negligence on the part of the property owner. They understand what kind of evidence is required as well as which situations can qualify.
Liability often falls to the property owner in cases where regular and thorough efforts to maintain a safe property are not made. For example, a damaged spot of flooring that presents a trip hazard could be used to determine liability if it can be determined that the damage existed for a long enough period that the owner should have noticed the issue. If it can be proven that the flooring had been damaged for months, it is more likely that the property owner can be judged liable. However, if the floor was damaged by another customer only ten minutes prior, it may not be reasonable to assume that the property owner was aware of a problem.
Personal injury lawyers understand the nuances of determining liability and can help build a case to determine who’s liable for the situation that occurred, and the circumstances that caused it.
As mentioned before, certain slip and fall accidents are not the fault of the property owner regardless of where the incident took place. Sometimes accidents just happen, and no catalyst is present aside from the normal circumstances of being alive and mobile. People trip over their own feet, misjudge a step, or walk into objects while staring at their smartphone screen. In these cases, the property owner is not necessarily liable for the incident, as a person’s own actions were the primary cause of the accident.
If you pursue a liability case when the property owner is not at fault, you may find yourself unable to find a lawyer to take your case, or spending money on a case that cannot be won. A reputable lawyer can help you determine the difference if you are uncertain, which can make him or her a very valuable asset when deciding whether to take legal action.