Slip and fall accidents can lead to devastating injuries that entitle the injured person to compensation. However, liability must be determined before a slip and fall case can move forward. The legal concept of premises liability comes into play when a slip and fall accident occurs.
Premises liability is a legal term that means that the owner of a property has a responsibility to ensure that their property is safe for others. The property owner must maintain their property and promptly eliminate hazards. If negligence on the part of a property owner leads to a fall, the owner will likely be found liable for costs related to any injuries suffered.
Receiving compensation following a slip and fall accident can be done through establishing liability. This compensation is based on the cost of medical care related to injuries and wages that are lost when the injured person must take time off to recover. A monetary figure may also be assigned to the overall loss of quality of life that the injured person suffers.
Determining Factors in Premises Liability
Establishing liability starts with determining whether the property owner caused the hazardous situation. For example, a homeowner who spills soap on the floor and fails to clean it up before a friend visits, slips and falls would be liable for injuries sustained as a result of the fall.
The property owner also needs to know that the surfaces in their property are hazardous. For example, a business owner who fails to remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their store would know that these slippery substances could prove hazardous for customers.
Liability can also be dependent on proving that the property owner should have known about a hazardous surface. It can be difficult to prove liability in this instance. Courts typically examine a case to see if the property owner would have known about the situation if they had used common sense. An example of an instance when a property owner should know about a hazard would be if a landlord was notified several times about a broken step outside a property and failed to fix the problem. If someone falls through the step and is injured, the landlord will be held liable.
Premises liability is often thought to apply only to business owners, but homeowners can also be held liable for injuries occurring on their property. For example, a homeowner who leaves the carpet on their stairway frayed could be held liable if a visitor trips on the damaged area of the carpet and falls down the stairs.
Renters are not exempt from being held liable for injuries sustained in a rental property. For example, a renter could fail to remove debris or trash on the porch of their rental property. If a person trips over this debris and is injured, the renter would be held liable.
Business owners must ensure the safety of their customers and other visitors to their business property at all times. A failure to evaluate the safety of a business property on a routine basis could make a business owner liable if a person slips and falls on their property.
Getting Help After a Slip & Fall Accident
The most important step to getting much-needed compensation after being involved in a slip and fall accident is seeking legal representation. Lawyers who have experience in representing personal injury cases have knowledge about filing a lawsuit and providing evidence to an insurance company or in a courtroom. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation to allow potential clients to find out more information.