Thousands of people are injured in slip and fall accidents every single year. Some people come away with light injuries whereas others are unfortunately seriously injured. Whether you have tripped and fallen on a wet floor, an uneven surface or on some stairs, there may be someone else to blame.
If you have been Injured in a Slip or Fall
If you have been injured in a slip or fall you should understand that from time to time surfaces become uneven, rainwater may have caused a floor to be wet, and stairs inevitably become damaged after constant use. The owner of the property in which you fell cannot always clear up spills, repair damaged stairs or mend uneven floors as there may be other circumstances surrounding your accident.
You should always be aware that the owner of a property is not responsible for your slip or fall if it is determined that people could be expected to find and avoid the hazard. This is because we are all under obligation to watch where we are going.
While it is not always easy to determine who may be responsible for your slip and fall, property owners do need to be careful when it comes to the upkeep of their property. If the property owner is found to be negligent they could be held responsible.
How to Determine Liability
In order to be found legally responsible for the injuries that you have suffered from as a result of a slip or fall on another person’s property the owner of the property or an employee must have:
- Torn or worn a spot, or a dangerous or slippery surface, or caused a spill on a surface you would usually walk on.
- Been aware of the slippery surface, spill etc and failed to have done anything about it.
- Been aware of the slippery surface, spill etc due to being informed by another ‘Reasonable’ person whose job it was to look after the property had discovered, repaired, or removed the slippery surface, spill etc.
A judge or jury will determine whether the occupier or the owner of the premises was careful, they will do this by determining whether they took reasonable steps to ensure that the premises were a safe place to be.
What ‘Reasonable’ Means
Any claim that involves possible negligence often hangs on whether the occupier or owner of the premises (Usually referred to as the ‘Defendant’) acted reasonably. The judge and occasionally the jury will decide whether the defendant has made clear and regular efforts to keep the premises clean and safe.
If you have had a slip and fall on another person’s premises ask yourself:
(If applicable) Has the torn or worn a spot, or a dangerous or slippery surface, or spill been there long enough for the owner to have known about it?
(If applicable) Could broken or poor lighting have contributed to the slip or fall?
(If applicable) Could a barrier or a warning have been given so as to prevent slips and trips?
(If applicable) Was there a reason for the object you slipped on or tripped over to be there?
(If applicable) If there had previously been a reason for an object to be in a specific place, but the reason is no longer valid, could it have been covered up, made safe, or removed?
(If applicable) Should the object have been moved to a much safer place? Could it have been placed in the same area with a little more care, without being too expensive or inconvenient for the owner or occupier?
(If applicable) Does the owner of occupier regularly clean, examine, or repair the premises. What proof do they have of this, and any routine that they usually undertake to examine the business?
If you think that at least one of the above questions can be answered in your favor you may be able to claim for compensation. You may also want to consider if you were careless and whether your carelessness made any contribution to the accident.
You will now need to consider whether your carelessness may have contributed to your accident. You may want to ask yourself the following questions that an insurance adjuster is likely to ask you:
- Did you have a legitimate reason for being in the area where the accident took place?
- Could the owner or occupier anticipate that you may be in the area where the accident took place?
- Would someone who was being very careful have noticed the spill/slippery surface etc, and walked carefully, or avoided the area entirely?
- Were you doing anything that would have distracted you and prevented you from paying attention to the area or looking where you were going?
- Were you acting responsibly, or were you fooling around in the area where the accident took place? If you were fooling around, did your actions make the accident more likely?
When it comes to speaking to an insurance adjuster about your claim, try not to prove to them that you were being careful, simply describe the accident in a manner that makes them understand you were not being careless.
Thousands of people are injured in slip and fall accidents every single year. If you can prove that you weren’t at fault you could have a claim for compensation.
If you currently are suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘Proving who is to Blame for your Slip or Fall’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking