Within the purview of personal injury that results in a liability lawsuit, the most demeaning for both parties is the ordinary slip and fall accident lawsuit. In automobile accidents, accidents on the job or medical malpractice litigation, there usually is no doubt that the plaintiff was injured and that the defendant was either at fault or wrongfully involved in some manner.
Slip and fall lawsuit ramifications broach another type of issue and another causative action with mitigating circumstances that may or may not increase any punitive damages awarded. It’s sometimes difficult to discover and even harder to prove, who is at fault for slip and fall accidents.
Thousands of people each year sustain injuries, many seriously, from slipping and falling on a floor, stairs or uneven ground. Sometimes it may be difficult to prove, however, that the owner of the property is responsible for slip and fall accident injuries.
This is why the slip and fall lawsuit is a favorite of con artists and malingerers who falsify accidental injuries.
Could the Property Owner Have Prevented the Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall, you may be tempted to seek justice through a lawsuit as soon as possible. That would not be prudent. Stop and ask yourself this question: If the property owner were more careful, could the accident have been avoided?
Even with a leaking roof leading to a slippery floor, the property owner may not be liable for any injuries. Especially, if there was a drainage grate in the floor to limit slippery conditions.
Also, property owners will not always be legally liable for things that a reasonable person would normally have avoided. This could include stumbling over something that would normally be in that location.
We all have a responsibility to be aware of our surroundings and to take care of our own safety. Property owners are seldom legally liable for injuries of plaintiffs who had a slip and fall accident on their property.
Although there is not an absolute rule, all property owners must take reasonable steps to keep their property free from dangers. This is often balanced against the care that the person who fell should have utilized for their own safety.
If you sustain injuries in a slip and fall on a property because of a dangerous condition, you need to prove one of the following. This will allow you to win a case for your injuries:
- The property owner or employee knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
- The property owner or employee actually knew about the dangerous condition but did not fix it.
- Or, the property owner or employee caused the dangerous condition.
Because property owners are usually persons who keep premises safe, the first example above is the most common.
When you show a property owner is liable, you will have to show the unreasonableness of his actions.
How long has the defect been present before your accident?
If your slip and fall accident involved tripping over something on the floor, why was it there?
Most states have the rule of “comparative negligence” regarding slip and fall lawsuit damages, meaning if you contributed to your accident, your award for injuries may be lessened by the percentage of your own negligence.