Slip and falls are common occurrences in everyday life. Slip and fall injuries can occur almost anywhere including residential, business, or government property. Because of the common nature of slips and trips to happen, the responsibility for these accidents is not always clear cut. While there is a general duty for property owners that invite others onto their property to properly maintain any common areas, a property owner may not always be at fault especially in instances where an obstruction is open and obvious and an ordinary person would be aware of the obstructions and avoid them.
There is no formula to compute the likelihood of an owner or occupant being responsible for a slip, trip, or fall accident. Each case will depend on the facts that surround the accident, the duties of the owner with regard to the maintenance of the property and whether the visitor who fell acted with reasonable caution.
In order to hold the owner of the property liable for the injuries the slip and fall victim suffered the injured party must show the following:
- The owner, or their agents, must have caused the dangerous premises that caused the accident (i.e., the slippery floor, the tear in the carpet, or the lumpy rug);
- Must have known the slippery or dangerous material or object was under foot and did nothing about it; and
- Need to show that a reasonably careful owner or agent would, upon noticing the dangerous material on the ground, have been able to discover the dangerous premises and taken steps to remove or repair the obstruction.
The last situation is the most difficult to prove because of the focus on what the owner or their agent should have known. To determine liability, the law determines whether each party acted reasonably given the circumstances surrounding the accident. Fortunately, common sense play a large role in this final determination.
It is best to document the accident immediately. Stores and companies will have accident forms and can provide a copy for the injured party. If photos can be taken of the area it would be wise to do so under the conditions that caused the fall.
After experiencing a slip and fall, it would be prudent to see an attorney immediately for a consultation. David Kremin & Associates offers free consultations for injury victims. The reason to see an attorney immediately is that a victim may be contacted by an insurance company who will want to settle the claim quickly in the favor of the insurance company. It is best not to communicate with an insurance adjuster unless you have an attorney.
A slip and fall accident at work would be handled under the state’s worker’s compensation laws.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.