Everyone has tripped or slipped and fallen down at some point in their life. Many assume that these falls are as a result of being clumsy, not paying attention, or not being careful. Some falls can be as a result of these reasons but others happen because of someone else’s mistake.
If you fall down while in a commercial property, the mistake can either be yours or it can be property owner's mistake. In the latter case, the property owner will be held liable and your injury claim for a slip and fall will be valid.
Life takes its twists and turns and mistakes happen, but if someone else's mistakes lead to your slip and fall injury, here's what to do next.
Find out If There Was Unsafe Condition on the Property
Check out what caused your fall. If it was caused by an unsafe condition in the property then the property owner will be liable. Some of the unsafe conditions may include the presence of debris, potholes, badly damaged sidewalks, wet and slippery floors, or accumulation of ice and snow.
A necessary condition for liability is that the property owner must have caused any of those conditions or allowed it to be there without taking the necessary steps to correct it. For instance, after a snowfall, a property owner is expected to clear ice and snow from areas where people usually use.
Failure to do that, they are held responsible for accidents that arise from their negligence. However, the property owner is not expected to make the property to be safe. He/she is only required to make it reasonably safe.
Using the example of the snowfall, the property owner is not expected to make all the areas clean and dry but to clear the ice. If you slip and fall immediately after a snowfall, your claim may not be valid.
Did the Property Owner Notice the Dangerous Condition?
Property owners are only responsible for dangerous conditions that they are aware of. They are usually granted a reasonable amount of time for dangerous conditions to come to their notice. For example, a person in a grocery drops banana peels on the floor and immediately you step on them, slide and fall down, the store owner will not be liable because there wasn’t enough time for them to discover that the banana peels were on the floor.
It is very difficult to prove when a slip and fall case is being argued in court, but there is a way around it. If such an accident occurs in a business premise, the owner will have to give an incident report.
The report will mention the cause of the accident and probably indicate how long the property owner was aware of the condition that caused the accident. Another remedy in such a situation is to rely on surveillance video of the area where the accident took place (that is if there was a surveillance camera installed in that area).
The video footage will show how much time elapsed from the time the dangerous condition arose to the time the injury from falls occurred. Your slip and fall lawyers can use both the incident report and the video footage as pieces of evidence in the court to try to prove that the property owner should have been or was actually on notice (or was aware) of the existence of a dangerous condition.
Was a Warning Posted?
After proving that the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition, the next step is to find out whether there was any warning to the public. A notice such as ‘Beware of Slippery Floor’ is usually used to warn people of the existence of a dangerous condition - the slippery floor.
Warnings are also placed on construction sites to warn people not to come closer and even in places where people risk electric shock. The warnings must be conspicuous so no one can claim they never saw them. In the absence of such a warning, the property owner is liable.
Your Responsibility in Slip and Fall Injury
The above personal injury tips only refer to the property owner. But it is worth mentioning that you are also responsible for your own safety. If the dangerous condition was obvious and open, the property owner would not be held responsible.
For example, when a floor is still getting mopped, you are expected to see that it is still wet and avoid walking in. You are also expected to use reasonable care to prevent your own injury in the presence of a dangerous condition.
For instance, when the sidewalk is covered with snow after a snowfall, it is expected to be careful when you have decided to walk on it. If the court realizes that you have some liability in connection with your personal injury, your case is dismissed.
Something Else to Consider
Making a slip and fall injury claim with the insurance company that covers a property is an uphill task. Insurance companies are not always ready to pay compensation and they can take you round in cycles. If your case meets the threshold and the insurance company is not willing to offer you any compensation, you can proceed and file a lawsuit.
You can hire slip and fall attorneys to take up the matter and provide them with the evidence to prove that you have a valid claim. Some attorneys are able to carry out their own private investigations and this can make your work easier.
Slip and Fall Injury Claim, It Is Worth It?
Before you file a lawsuit, it is worth considering the seriousness of your injuries. Some injuries are not even worth the hassle. For example, a slightly sprained ankle or a bruised knee, may not be worth a claim and going to court would be a waste of time.
However, if the injury is serious, like an injured spine or a broken arm, you can go ahead and file a case. If you slip, fall and get injured on someone else’s premises and you believe you have a valid claim, the best action to take is to hire a qualified lawyer.
The lawyer will advise you accordingly on whether your slip and fall injury claim would have any merit before a court. You can visit our blog if you want to learn more about digital advertising and marketing.