Slip and Fall AccidentsSlip and Fall: Understanding Premises Liability for Unsafe Conditions

April 28, 2024

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere – at the grocery store, in a restaurant, at your workplace, or on someone’s property. If you suffer an injury from a slip and fall, you may wonder if you can hold another party legally responsible. Understanding premises liability laws regarding unsafe conditions that lead to falls can help you determine if you have a legitimate case. Even minor falls can cause sprains, fractures, head injuries, and other harm. Therefore, it is important to understand your legal options if you get injured in an accident on someone else’s property.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of landowners to maintain safe property conditions for visitors. Property owners have an obligation to know about any dangerous conditions on their premises and fix them or provide adequate warnings. If they fail to address hazards that they knew or should have known about, they can be liable for any injuries their negligence causes.

Common Slip and Fall Hazards

There are many potential slip, trip and fall hazards that can lead to accidents. Some examples include:

  • Wet or greasy floors
  • Uneven floor surfaces or steps
  • Poor lighting
  • Cluttered walkways
  • Damaged flooring or carpeting
  • Lack of handrails on stairs or ramps
  • Snow and ice buildup on exterior walkways

Property owners must regularly inspect their premises and promptly fix or warn people about any known hazards. If an unsafe condition causes someone to slip and suffer harm, the property owner may be considered negligent.

Proving Liability After a Fall

To successfully prove the property owner is liable for your damages, you must establish four key elements:

  1. Duty of Care – The property owner owed you a duty of care to keep the premises reasonably safe. This duty applies to anyone lawfully on their property.
  2. Breach of Duty – The owner breached their duty through negligence. This means they knew about the hazard but failed to fix it, or that they should have known about it using reasonable care.
  3. Causation – The dangerous condition directly caused your accident and injuries. There must be a definitive link between the slip and fall itself and the resulting harm you endured.
  4. Damages – As a result of the accident, you suffered tangible damages like medical bills, lost income from missed work, pain and suffering, etc.

Possible Defenses in Slip and Fall Claims

When property owners face slip and fall claims, they may use certain defenses to contest their liability:

Lack of Control – If the owner can prove they did not have control over the hazardous area, they may avoid liability. For example, if you fell in a common area of a privately owned apartment complex, the owner might shift blame to the tenant who occupies that space.

Open and Obvious Conditions – If a dangerous condition is obvious to an average person, the owner has less liability if they fail to fix or warn about it. However, obvious hazards like a wet floor must still have an adequate warning cone.

Comparative Negligence – If you were not paying attention and bear some fault for your fall, it may reduce the owner’s financial responsibility for your injuries. The extent of responsibility gets determined on a percentage basis between each party.

Seeking Compensation via Legal Action

Because premises liability cases involve complex legal and insurance matters, contacting a personal injury attorney is highly advisable if you want to pursue compensation after a slip and fall. An experienced lawyer can investigate your accident, compile evidence, prove negligence, contest defense arguments, and handle negotiations with insurance companies. Victims often receive a settlement to cover all current and future costs related to the incident. If necessary, a lawyer can also take the case to court and argue for a favorable judgment before a jury.

Contact an Attorney About Your Rights

Suffering a serious injury in a slip and fall can cause financial strain and emotional turmoil. While you focus on healing, contacting a qualified premises liability attorney immediately after an accident is crucial for seeking remuneration. The attorneys at Glober + Glober can advise if you have a viable case, handle complex legal processes on your behalf, fight for the maximum compensation possible, and help you get your life back on track.

You can find our offices at this address: 422 Jacksonville Dr. Suite B, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250.

Alternatively, you can call us today for a free consultation on (904) 633-9999.
48-49 Russell Square, WC1B 4JP, London
1 800 643 4300

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