To receive slip and fall compensation, you must determine the owner's liability for the unsafe condition.
Accidents happen on other people's property and often result in injury, but when someone's carelessness (orignore) is a factor, you might wonder about your rights. This paper explores a key questionhe slipped and fellAccident Claims: Liability. Whether you are looking for insurancesolveor payPersonal Injury HandlingTo win a lawsuit, you must be able to prove that someone else (usually the landlord) was legally responsible for your injuries.
Read on to learn more:
- What Lawyers and Insurance Companies Mean When They Talk About "Liability" for Slip and Fall Accidents
- Frequency of Liability in Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents
- the importance of being able to prove the owner’s negligence, and
- Anticipate and defend the argument that the victim's own inattention caused or somehow contributed to the accident.
What is slip and fall liability?
in law and insurance"responsibility"Synonymous with "responsibility". In order for someone else to be held liable for a slip and fall injury, the injured person typically needs to prove one of the following:
- The owner (or the owner's employees or agents) should have recognized the unsafe condition (i.e. potholes or uneven surfaces) and removed or repaired the potential hazard but failed to do so. The key question here is whether a reasonable person would view the situation as dangerous and whether the defendant had an ample opportunity to remedy the situation before the accident occurred.
- the owner (or his employees) actually created a dangerous situation that resulted in a slip-and-fall accident—for example, by leaving a dangerous obstacle in the path—andreasonably predictableSomeone tripped over this situation.
When can a property owner be held liable for a slip and fall?
Let's take a look at how liability standards generally apply to the most common types of slip and fall accidents.
Slipping or tripping on stairs.Stairs can be dangerous in ways that people don't even realize. Factors that can contribute to slipping and falling down stairs may include:
- Foreign objects on the stairs
- poorly designed or missing armrests;
- Wrong or different height risers (height of each step)
- step too shallow
- Frayed or unsafe rugs or pads on stairs.
If the owner caused or knew about the problems but failed to fix them, they could be liable for injuries caused by guests slipping and falling on the stairs. However, sometimes people stumble on stairs through no fault of their own, or as an unavoidable accident for which the owner is not legally responsible. For example, party guests may be texting as they descend the stairs, and may lose their balance by not paying attention to where they are going. It's not the owner's fault.
Slipping or tripping on rugs, rugs, or defective floors.Rugs, rugs, and floors can also cause people to slip (or step on) and fall:
- Carpet without proper underlayment presents a serious slip risk.
- Guests may trip over carpet with holes or frayed edges.
- Flooring (tiles) may be damaged or laid incorrectly or simplydangerously slipperyEspecially if it's wet or freshly waxed.
But as with stair accidents, falls caused by carpet or slippery floors aren't necessarily the homeowner's fault. It could just be bad luck, or even guest error (ignoring a wet floor warning sign, for example).
Slip and fall on ice or snow.Lots of injuries, lots of lawsuits because people lost their legsice or snowin residential property. In most states, homeowners are required by law to take reasonable steps to remove snow and ice and to make sidewalks and paths reasonably safe.
Still, winning such a lawsuit against homeowners won't be easy. Juries in cold-weather states are often reluctant to find homeowners liable—juries in these areas generally agree that snow and ice are known hazards and people should proceed with caution. This is usually maintainedPersonal Injury Compensation AmountSnow and ice conditions are relatively low compared to homeowners.
Drive onto broken paths or sidewalks.Homeowners may be held liable for failing to act reasonably to keep trails and sidewalks on their property in reasonable condition. Local laws also often require them to maintain a public sidewalk in front of their property to keep out ice, snow and debris.
But in general, municipalities are tasked with restoring public sidewalks. This means that if you trip and are injured on broken or uneven pavement, you can lodge a negligence claim with local authorities. Laws make it difficult to sue local governments, and often limit the amount you can get back even if you win. learn more aboutLocal authority liability for slips and falls on footpaths.
What is negligence and how does it affect the owner's liability?
The word "reasonable" comes up frequently in settlement negotiations and other key stages of slip-and-fall cases. This is because, in order to be considered "insignificant" and thus liable for slip and fall damage, the owner (or the owner's agent or employee) must not act as a person in a manner similar to causing the accident.
In attempting to assess whether the defendant's conduct was reasonable, the plaintiff should consider the following factors:
- Has the unsafe condition or obstruction existed long enough for a reasonable property owner or employee to take steps to eliminate the hazard?
- Does the property owner or employee have a policy of regularly inspecting the property for potential hazards and, if so, is there a record or otherwise that the procedure was followed immediately prior to an accident?
- Is there a legitimate reason for the potential risk? If so, does that excuse still exist when slipping or falling?
- Can the hazardous situation be mitigated by precautions such as moving the hazard, placing appropriate warning signs in the area, or preventing access to the site?
- Is poor lighting or poor visibility a factor in your slip and fall?
What if the owner claims the accident was your own fault?
In the event of a slip and fall, the owner (or his insurance company, such asWhen a Homeowner's Insurance Policy Covers Slip and Fall Accidents) may argue that the plaintiff was partially (or fully) responsible for the accident that caused the injury.
Such arguments are based on a legal concept called "comparative guilt," which states have codified as"Comparative negligence" and "consequential negligence" methods.• State regulations will affect a claimant's ability to obtain compensation if the claimant is found to be jointly responsible for the accident.
In the few states that follow contributory fault rules, claimants won't be able to recover themcompensationNot at all, if it turns out they were responsible to any degree for the accident. Under the principle of comparative negligence (a variation of which is used by the vast majority of states), damages awarded to an injured plaintiff are reduced by a percentage equal to their share of liability - so the plaintiff is 25% at fault e.g. in a slip and fall incident In , you can only make $7,500 out of a $10,000 loss. You can find the laws for your statein this plan.
To determine whether a plaintiff may be held liable for causing harm to any part of it, the following points need to be considered:
- Did the plaintiff do anything that might have prevented him from seeing the danger, such as using a telephone, when a reasonable person would?
- Did the claimant have legal access to the place where the slip and fall occurred, or was there a legitimate reason for the claimant to be in the hazard area?
- Has the applicant placed appropriate warning signs and other safety measures that have been overlooked or not applied?
If the defense can show that the plaintiffs likely caused the accident through their own carelessness, the chances of winning damages are slim.
What else should you know?
To better understand the legal issues involved in such cases and increase your chances of winning, be sure to read the basicsResponsibility of the premisesIslip and fall accident.If you are ready to discuss your situation with an attorney, find outHow to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for You and Your Case.