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Premises Liability Law

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Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Slip and fall accident cases typically fall under the premises liability subcategory of personal injury law. These cases often arise when someone is injured after slipping or tripping on someone else’s property. Examples could involve a shopper at a supermarket who slips on spilled liquids or a patron of a retail establishment who is injured after tripping on cracked pavement in the parking lot.

Slip and fall cases can arise in a residential setting as well. The responsibility for damages can sometimes lie with the owner or landlord of the property or, in some cases, the tenant.

A slip and fall attorney can assist in determining who may be responsible. The attorney will assess who owned the property where the accident occurred and who was tasked with maintaining the safety of floors, stairs, sidewalks, parking lots and other walking areas. Was the owner or possessor of the property aware or should have been aware of the dangerous condition?

Elements of a Slip and Fall Injury Lawsuit

As in other negligence cases, it is necessary to demonstrate:

  • that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  • that it failed to act reasonably under the circumstances and thus breached that duty,
  • that such failure was the proximate and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff’s injury and
  • that the plaintiff suffered actual harm.

Types of Accidents

Wet or greasy floors, holes or bumps in sidewalks, broken rails, missing manhole covers and many other hazards can cause slip and fall accidents. These accidents can be categorized into four types:

  • Slip and fall – caused by a wet or greasy surface
  • Step and fall – caused by holes or damage to a surface
  • Stump and fall – caused by an unexpected object on a surface
  • Trip and fall – caused by foreign object in the way

Examples of hazards include spills, ice and an extension cord across a path. Sometimes, poor lighting or unexpected changes in flooring pose a safety risk as well.

Accident Evidence

The time and place of an accident is an important part of a premises liability claim as is any medical documentation about the injuries that have been sustained. Information about the alleged hazard, like an icy sidewalk or unlit stairs, will be needed. Could adequate maintenance or posted warnings have reduced the likelihood of a slip and fall?

When a person is injured after slipping and falling, it’s recommended that a report about the incident be recorded as soon as possible. The business where the injury occurred might have a policy about creating a formal report. Whatever the case, the victim may still want to write a personal report and attempt to record as many details as possible. Taking photographs is a good idea as well.

Compensation for Victims

A person who has been injured in a slip and fall accident can seek compensation in a lawsuit for past and future medical expenses. Other applicable damages might include lost wages or pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s lawyer will often be of assistance in determining the types and amount of damages to ask for.