A slip and fall is a common enough incident, and anyone who experiences one may wonder if they have any legal recourse. The answer to this question, in general, is yes, but only if it can be proven that the owner of the property on which the slip and fall occurred was at fault. Slip and fall accidents fall under the broader category of personal injury law; personal injury cases are when a person or entity causes injury to another due to negligence.
That is why, in order to sue for a slip and fall, you need to prove that the negligence of the property owner created the condition that led to the accident. Experienced slip and fall attorneys like, Berger & Hicks, P.A., can help victims with their slip and fall lawsuits and help them to get the compensation that they need and deserve.
Proof of Negligence
The first order of business in suing for a slip and fall is proving that the property owner’s negligence caused the accident. To prove negligence, three things need to be established:
- The owner of the property caused the dangerous condition.
- The property owner knew about the condition and did nothing to fix it.
- The dangerous condition was present long enough that a reasonable person should have known about it and done something to fix it.
If any of these conditions were met, then a lawsuit is a viable option. However, you should note that the property owner and their lawyers will try to prove that you were completely, or partially at fault for the accident.
If the court comes to the conclusion that you were partially at fault for the accident, then the law regarding comparative negligence kicks in. Comparative negligence means that the accident victim receives a smaller amount of compensation based on the percentage that they were deemed to be at fault for the accident. So, if the courts decide that you were 30% at fault for the accident, then you will receive 70% of the compensation that you would have received if they decided that the property owner was completely at fault.
What Are The Conditions That Constitute Negligence?
Wet floors, poor lighting, cracked sidewalks, uneven flooring, and torn carpeting are just some of the conditions that could be caused because of negligence. Since it is not necessary for the property owner to cause the condition, you can sue if you suffer a slip and fall because of them. However, that is only the case if the owner could have reacted in time to fix the problem. If a customer spills a bottle of water and someone slips on the wet floor a few seconds afterward, then there is not much recourse for a lawsuit. That is because the owner did not cause the accident and could not have reasonably acted in time to clean up the spill or warn other people about it. If the spill persists for minutes without being cleaned or without a warning, then anyone who slips and falls can sue the owner for negligence.
What About Warning Signs?
A warning sign can complicate the issue but only if the following factors are present:
- The sign had clear, legible writing.
- The sign was in a language that regular visitors to the location would understand.
- The sign was in a location that is well lit where a person could easily notice it.
If those conditions are present, then the defendant will argue that a reasonable person would have noticed the sign and avoided the hazard. That does not mean that you are out of luck if a warning sign was present at the scene; if the hazard was one that was able to be corrected but was allowed to linger—like a spill for example, then the presence of a warning sign does not obviate the owner of negligence.
Are There Situations Where You Cannot Sue For a Slip and Fall?
Aside from the aforementioned scenario where the owner could not have reasonably acted in time to correct the dangerous condition or warn anyone about it, there is another situation where the owner may not be held liable for the slip and fall. That situation is if you were trespassing on the property. If that is the case, then the defense may argue that since you had no reason to be on the property, then the owner had no obligation to fix any hazardous conditions or post a warning about them.
Let An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Handle Your Slip and Fall Case
Lawsuits are complicated affairs, which is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side if you decide to sue for a slip and fall. They can help to prove that the property owner was negligent and that you deserve to be compensated for any injuries that you received. A slip and fall can be a serious accident, so you need a serious lawyer to represent you.