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If you or someone you know has been in a slip and fall accident, we know it can be very overwhelming to deal with insurance companies, and bills while you are trying to recover from your injuries. Let us help you sort everything out. When a slip and fall is caused by the negligence of a property owner, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by the fall.
Suffering a slip and fall injury while on someone else’s property, does not always result in the property owner being held liable for your injuries. Only an experienced slip and fall attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances surrounding your injuries, and provide you with advice as to whether your injuries are compensable; however, a better understanding of premises liability law may be helpful in the meantime.
For a property owner to be liable for your injuries, the property owner’s negligence must have caused, or contributed to, your slip and fall accident. In a slip and fall case, the following questions can help determine if the property owner was negligent:
Was there a hazardous or unsafe condition on the property? The first step in deciding if the property owner is liable, is determining if a hazardous or unsafe condition contributed to your to slip and fall. Tripping over your own two feet will not result in liability on the part of the property owner. Common examples of unsafe conditions include:
Did the property owner know about the hazardous or unsafe condition? A property owner is not expected to keep the property completely free from unsafe conditions; however, once the owner is made aware of an unsafe condition, the condition should be remedied and made safe within a reasonable amount of time. For example, if a shopper spills something liquid in a supermarket and the manager is notified it would be reasonable to expect the spill to be cleaned up within 15-20 minutes. If the spill remains there two hours later, and you slip on it the owner would likely be held responsible.
Should the property owner have known? Simply claiming ignorance of an unsafe condition is not enough to avoid liability for a property owner. The law also asks if the property owner should have known about the unsafe condition. For example, if the concrete on the sidewalk in front of a store has been chipped for over a week, creating a serious trip hazard, the property owner clearly should have known about the condition of the sidewalk, even if no one specifically mentioned it. A property owner has a duty to maintain the property, and perform basic and reasonable upkeep and repairs on the property to keep it safe from hazards.
Were you warned about the hazard or unsafe condition? Sometimes, an unsafe condition cannot be remedied immediately. In that case, the property owner has a duty to warn people of the danger. The “Wet floor” signs you commonly see in stores is a good example of a warning. If it is storming outside and the property owner cannot possible keep the floors completely dry a warning sign will often suffice to avoid liability.
Was the condition obvious? Finally, the law will not typically hold a property owner responsible, if the hazard was blatantly obvious. For example, if there is a six foot tall box in an aisle and you run into it, your injuries would likely not be compensable. Likewise, if there is a gaping hole in the parking lot and you stumble into it, the property owner might escape liability on the premise that you should have seen the hazard and avoided it.
Because every slip and fall case is unique, it is best to consult with a slip and fall attorney to determine if your slip and fall accident entitles you to compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one were involved in a slip and fall, do not hesitate to seek the help and counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer, and high quality medical care. Call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.