You have probably slipped and fallen at some point during your life, and it’s likely that you may have blamed yourself for not looking where you were going, or you may have attributed it to clumsiness. However, on occasions, your fall may have been caused by a hazard on another person’s property.
If you fall on another person’s property it may not necessarily be their fault. However, in some circumstances, the fault may lie with the owner of the commercial or private property, and they could be found liable.
If you have sustained an injury from a slip and fall on someone’s property you will want to be certain that you have a valid claim.
Here are some factors that you will need to consider before you make a slip and fall claim:
Was the Property in an Unsafe Condition?
If the owner of the property is to be found liable for your slip and fall the property would have to have been in an unsafe condition. An unsafe condition could be: Slippery or wet floors, debris, a build-up of ice and snow, potholes, or a damaged sidewalk.
In order to be found liable, the property owner must have either caused the unsafe conditions or allowed them to continue.
Please note that the owner of a property does not legally have to make the area or premises very safe, they are only required by law to make it reasonably safe.
Let’s imagine that it has rained a lot, so much so that floors in properties around the city were wet as people walked in from the rain. The owner of the property is required to make sure that water is cleared from the areas of the floor that people are likely to walk upon. It is not up to them to make sure that the floors are completely dry and free from little spots of water. This is why if you have slipped on a very small puddle of water after it has rained it is unlikely that you will have a valid claim.
Was the Owner of the Property Aware of the Dangerous Condition?
You should be aware that the owner of the property will not be found liable for a dangerous condition that they did not know about. They are allowed to have a specific amount of time to come across the dangerous conditions. For example, if someone dropped something heavy on a floor tile breaking it, and someone immediately tripped over the tile the owner of the property is unlikely to be found liable because there was no way they could have known that the tile was damaged.
Being aware of, or ‘Having notice’ of a dangerous condition is very hard to prove. If you fell on a business property, it’s likely that an incident report will be made after your fall. As incident reports often state what the cause of the accident was, it could prove to be a good insight into whether the owner of the property knew about the dangerous condition, and if so, how long for.
It is likely that they may be surveillance footage of your accident, and it’s also likely that the footage will show how much time passed between when the dangerous condition took place/arose, and your accident. Along with incident reports, surveillance footage is used as a critical piece of evidence when someone is trying to prove that the owner of a property was on notice, or should have been on notice.
Was a Warning Sign used?
You have probably seen a lot of warning signs when entering buildings, work places, and parking lots etc. These warning signs alert the public and workers of a dangerous condition, and one that cannot be remedied right away. The owner of a building, a construction site or a municipality should warn people by setting out signs and caution cones.
What you are Expected to do
You are expected to see and use reasonable care to prevent your injuries. If it is found that you did not take reasonable care (For example, you walked on a floor even though it was obviously very slippery) your claim will be affected.
Consider how Serious your Injuries are
You should consider how serious your injuries are before you make a claim. This is because communicating with the property owner’s insurance company can be quite difficult and quite arduous. If you find that you cannot resolve your claim you might want to think about filing a lawsuit. However, this can be very time consuming and expensive. You may also need to give a deposition (An out of court testimony) that could be quite stressful for you.
You may, therefore, wish to consider whether your slip and fall claim is worth the time, effort, and money. If you only have light injuries such as a lightly sprained ankle, or a bruised arm you may want to think again. However, if your injuries are more severe filing a claim could be worthwhile.
Look for a personal injury lawyer who is happy to help you with your slip and fall claim, so that you are more likely to get the compensation you deserve.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘Is your Slip and Fall Claim a Valid One?’please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.