Slip and fall accidents happen all the time, and they sometimes occur on one’s properties. If the owner’s negligence occasioned the issue, you might begin to wonder how and what determines the liability. Proving someone is liable for your accident can sometimes be tricky but necessary. It’s the only way you’ll have a chance of receiving compensation.
Even when you can prove there’s negligence on the owner’s part that caused your injury due to the hazardous state of the property, you need more evidence. The claim of who’s liable in such a case requires the plaintiff (you) to prove that:
- The owner of the property, agent, or employee owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty
- It was the breach that resulted in your accident and injuries
- You suffered damages as a result
These things need to be proven with tangible evidence for the courts to determine liability.
Slip And Fall Accidents- Everything You Need To Know
Common Causes Of Slip And Fall Accidents
There are many reasons for slip and fall accidents to happen in both private and public properties that could result in injuries and damages. Some of these common causes include:
- Missing or loose handrails
- Waxed or wet floors
- Broken or cracked flooring
- Bulging or torn carpets
- Loose rugs and mats
- Obstacles that can cause tripping
- Potholes on sidewalks or parking lots
Property owners must ensure any hazardous condition in their property is fixed or removed. They should also put warning signs in such places before they’re fixed. If they fail to take these measures, they can be held liable for accidents and injuries resulting from those.
How To Prove Negligence And Liability
It’s the duty of owners to maintain their premises in a good condition and mitigate any damages posing danger to the inhabitants and visitors. The term ‘reasonable’ is used to indicate the owner had a chance to remedy a hazardous condition but utterly disregarded it. However, it’s a challenge in law and practice to prove the accident was caused by negligence.
The owner can argue you’re to blame for being careless. For you to prove the owner should solely be held liable, these factors will come into play:
- Whether or not the condition that led to the accident existed for some time, the owner should’ve removed the hazard.
- Whether or not the owner could’ve prevented the cause of the slip and fall accident before it occurred. These include things such as placing a warning sign, removing an obstacle that can cause tripping, or removing the hazard altogether.
- Whether or not the property owner has a policy for routine checks for possible and potential hazards in the property.
- Whether or not poor visibility or lighting caused the accident.
On the other hand, you need to prove you didn’t cause the accident. As seen earlier, the property owner may try to argue that you’re either partially or comparatively responsible for the accident. If you’re found even to be partially liable, you’ll share the liability with the property owner. Contributory and comparative negligence laws govern this issue, and this will affect your ability to receive compensation depending on the laws in your state.
To determine whether you may be held liable for the slip and fall accident, these issues might be used by the property owner:
- If you’re engaged in an activity that may have deterred your concentration such as texting.
- If there’s adequate warning signage or if you ignored the safety measures laid down by the owner.
- If you’re lawfully accessing the premises at the time of the slip and fall accident.
- If you have a legitimate reason why you’re at the place of the incident.
If the property owner can prove you contributed to the accident out of carelessness, winning the case will be unlikely. Therefore, having a piece of evidence is a must.
Gathering Evidence In Slip And Fall Cases
To have a strong slip and fall claim, you need to provide compelling and clear evidence showing the property owner was negligent. You’ll also need proof of injuries as well as the financial loss sustained. Some of the things you can use as evidence include accident and investigation reposts, medical records, receipts for expenses, witness statements, photographs, and CCTV footage, if available.
For you to understand better the issue of liability in a slip and fall accident, ensure to consult a lawyer who specializes in personal injury matters. Also, always note to get treated for your injuries first before you gather evidence that can help you prove your case against a property owner.