Who's at Fault For an Injury Due to a Slip-and-fall Accident?
Apr 22, 2021 06:18 PM EDT
You are strolling merrily down the street on a beautiful spring day. You take a whiff of the flower-scented air and pick up your pace a bit. All of a sudden, you feel your feet going out from under you, you instinctively put out your arms, and then you hear a crack. Your wrist is broken, and you are in excruciating pain.
It is human nature to want to blame somebody else when something like this happens. You may blame the city that is supposed to maintain the sidewalk where you slipped or the owner of the building you fell in front of. You may even curse the gods. The blame for a slip and fall accident will be determined by several different factors.
Was the surface you slipped and fell on unevenly because of normal wear and tear?
When various surfaces age, they may become uneven. Sidewalks wear down, carpets shed and lose traction, and a floor may slant because of ground erosion. The owner of a property is responsible for making sure that it is safe. However, you are also considered responsible for watching where you are going and exercising reasonable caution wherever you are.
Was the object you tripped over supposed to be there?
If you tripped and fell over an object that one might expect to be in a certain business or on certain terrain, you may be considered responsible. If you catch your high heel in a hole at the golf course, an insurance adjuster will likely tell you that you should not have been wearing high heels on a golf course, and you should have known to look for holes. If a worker left a rake lying around in the middle of a golf course and you tripped over it, the owner of the golf course may be liable.
Could the fall have been avoided under normal circumstances?
A building owner, homeowner, or business owner has a duty of care to maintain a safe property. If someone owns a grocery store, for example, it is their responsibility to make sure that there is nothing wet and slippery on the ground that one of their customers could step on and hurt themselves.
If someone slips on a wet spill in a grocery store, an insurance adjuster will be saddled with the task of deciding if the store owner had enough time to clean up the spill on which the person slipped. If the spill happened a second before the slip happened, the company's insurance provider may argue that there was nothing that the company could have done. However, if the company employed janitors who were in the practice of mopping floors without putting up wet floor signs, the company may be liable if you have an accident.
In order to prove that a property or business owner was responsible for an accident, you must establish that they caused the dangerous situation and that they knew about it and did nothing.
If you do have a slip and fall claim, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawyers will have years of experience negotiating with insurance companies, and they will have a good chance of getting you a fair settlement.