If you are seriously injured in a slip-and-fall accident while on the premises of another person or business, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Property owners and businesses owe a duty of care to keep their premises reasonably safe for people who visit lawfully. If a property owner or business violates that duty, and you are injured as a result, you may be able to hold the business or property owner liable to pay damages for your losses.
Liability in a Slip-and-Fall Case
Property owners must keep their facilities safe and hazard-free in order to prevent people who are lawfully present from being injured. When a person is injured in a slip-and-fall accident while visiting a business, however, proving liability can be complicated. In many cases, the business or property owner will attempt to deny liability, placing the blame for the accident on the injured person. In order to prove that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the business or property owner, it is often necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances.
Where Slip-and-Fall Accidents Can Happen
A slip-and-fall case can happen anywhere. Common locations include slippery floors inside of businesses, parking lots that have unnatural accumulations of snow or ice, sidewalks with hazardous conditions (like broken asphalt), unsafe stairways, and parking lots with potholes or inadequate lighting. Slip-and-fall accidents may also occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Serious Repercussions for Children and the Elderly
When a child or a senior citizen is the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, the repercussions can be serious. When a child slips and falls, he or she may suffer lifelong consequences that permanently alter the course of his or her life.
Elderly people are fragile, and even a small accident can leave an older adult with broken bones, a traumatic brain injury, or a spinal cord injury. When a senior citizen breaks a hip in a fall, he or she may quickly deteriorate and experience greatly reduced functional capacity. This may force an older person to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility prematurely, and in some cases, the ramifications of the injury will greatly shorten the victim’s life.
To prevail in a slip-and-fall claim, the risk must have been reasonably foreseeable. This includes hazards that the property owner knew or should have known existed on their property.
For example, businesses may be liable for slip-and-fall accidents if they leave spills on the floor without cleaning them up, but the mere existence of a spill is not enough. The plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the spill existed on the floor for a long enough period of time that the business owner or operator should have reasonably known about it but still failed to clean it up. Other examples include objects that are left on the floor by workers (causing people to trip and fall) and faulty gutters that leak water (which then freezes to create an unnatural icy condition on a sidewalk).
An experienced personal injury attorney will often try to determine whether or not a business had a regular schedule that it used to inspect the conditions of the property. For example, in a slip-and-fall accident caused by spilled milk in a grocery store, the attorney might check to see if the workers signed off on inspection rounds. If they did, the attorney might check to see how long before the accident the last check was performed. An attorney may also review maintenance and repair records to see what efforts the business owner made to keep the property in a safe condition. These types of evidence may be used to help prove that the business or property owner violated his or her duty of care and was negligent.
Slip-and-fall accidents can cause serious and debilitating injuries. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall case, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today. Our knowledgeable and experienced team can help you identify all of the potential defendants and gather the evidence you need to prove the defendants’ liability. Schedule a free case review to get started.