Thousands of people are seriously injured every year, whether young or old, when they slip and fall or trip and fall on a slippery surface, damaged stairs, or flawed landscape. Sometimes, the property owner can be held responsible for the accident.
However, you must first consider the fact that it is part of life for things to spill or drip onto a floor or the ground, and for smooth terrain to become rough and uneven. Furthermore, some things put into the ground, such as drainage grates, serve a useful purpose. Therefore, a property owner cannot always be held responsible for immediately cleaning up every spill, fixing every defective surface, or for someone falling on an object that an ordinary person should expect to see and avoid. Everyone has an obligation to be aware and watch where they are going.
With that being said, property owners do need to maintain a clean premise and have a duty to keep up their property. Although there is no distinct or precise way to determine whether someone is legally responsible for something you slip or trip on, cases are decided on whether the property owner properly maintained the property so that slipping or tripping was not likely to occur. Also, whether the person who fell acted carelessly in not seeing or avoiding the hazard.
What must be considered?
- Open and Obvious
- Contributory Negligence
Open and Obvious
This point is first and foremost in these types of cases. The biggest, most important question to ask is, “was the hazard that caused the slip and fall open and obvious?” If it meets the standard of open and obvious, then there most likely isn’t a case to be made. If it was open and obvious, then it is reasonable that you should have the awareness and vigilance to avoid it.
The next most important question to consider is, “was the establishment negligent regarding the hazard? Should they have noticed it?” If it can be proven that the hazard was there for a substantial amount of time and it was in an area where it should have been patrolled or monitored, yet it was not taken care of, you can prove negligence on the part of the establishment.
It can sometimes be argued by the Defense that the Plaintiff should have taken necessary precaution to avoid the injury. Every situation is different, but regardless of the facts, it is imperative that you provide good reasoning as to why you did not, or could not have taken precautionary measures to avoid the accident.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
- Slip and fall
- Slippery surfaces, such as snow and ice
- Inadequate maintenance of property
- Inadequate building security
- Defective conditions on the property
- Elevator/escalator accidents
- Dog bites/attacks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Amusement/recreational parks accidents
- Water leaks/flooding
- Toxic/chemical fumes
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at the grocery store, gas station, or another local property, you may be eligible for a recovery if you meet certain standards. If you would like to speak with someone about your case, you can call us at (940) 569-4000.