Slip and fall accidents commonly occur on commercial property, including places like retail shops, movie theaters, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. When such accidents happen due to a property owner’s negligence, a victim could seek out a premise liability claim. These are legal claims that hold the property owner responsible for the damages and losses that occurred as a result of an accident. In more complex cases, a slip and fall case can involve more than one negligent party. The most common types of falls associated with slip, trip, and fall claims include wet floors, icy conditions, poor lighting, uneven surfaces, ripped or torn carpeting, defective steps or stair cases, hidden cords or wires, and defective construction.
The complexity of these kinds of cases vary depending on the particular circumstances of the accident. The liability or fault is not always cut and dry. Even though you may fall and injure yourself on someone else’s property, it doesn’t mean that they are entirely liable for the accident, or even liable at all. This is why slip and fall victims require the professional services of a licensed personal injury lawyer. They have the skills and experience to investigate and analyze your claim to determine whether or not your case is strong. Just be sure to choose a lawyer who has litigation experience and has an acute understanding of premise liability law. Before speaking with your trusted lawyer, review some important questions to ask yourself and your lawyer about a property owner’s responsibility in your slip and fall claim. These questions and answers can give you some foresight regarding the validity of your claim.
Did the Owner Know About the Hazard That Caused Your Accident?
You must learn whether or not the property owner knew about the hazard that caused your accident; and furthermore, whether or not the hazard was something that should have been predicted to cause injury to a person. For example, a grocery store clerk might drop a jar of pickles on the floor and notify the manager, who in turn, does nothing to remedy the situation. This is negligence, and if a shopper slips and falls in the broken glass and pickle juice, and suffers a serious injury, the store could be held responsible for all damages and losses resulting from the shopper’s accident and subsequent injuries. This includes hospital bills, medical expenses, time of work, and more.
Since it can be difficult proving that a manager or owner knew about a hazard, the law has a legal concept called “constructive knowledge”, which basically insists that a manager should have discovered the hazard if they were carrying out reasonable inspections of the premises. There are several factors involved with establishing a construction knowledge defense, including how long the hazard was present, whether or not there was a procedure in place for routine premise inspections, whether or not the manger adhered to the set procedure, and whether or not the hazard was obvious (and if it was, to what degree).
Could They Have Prevented the Accident From Occurring? Was the Accident Reasonably Foreseeable?
If the property owner could have prevented the hazard that caused the accident and resulting injuries, it could have a strong impact on a slip and fall case. For example, if the accident was caused by poor lighting because the owner failed to replace a lightbulb in a staircase, they could be liable.
Did the Owner Properly Inform Visitors of the Hazard?
It is important to understand whether or not the owner acted reasonably in the situation. If they warned customers of the hazard, such as putting up a wet floor sign or taping off an area that is under construction, then this evidence can be used to determine that they did act reasonably given the circumstances.