A slip-and-fall injury results from a condition on someone else’s property that is deemed hazardous. A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, including:
- A slippery movie theater floor
- An icy parking lot
- Your neighbor’s front porch
- At your job
However, just because you tripped at the grocery store doesn’t mean you have a personal injury claim. In order to receive compensation, the property owner’s negligence must have caused your injury, and proving this isn’t always cut and dry.
Here’s what you should know about slip-and-fall accidents.
Slip-and-fall injuries are among the more common types of injury. In an average year, over one million people in the US are injured in a slip-and-fall accident.
Slip-and-fall accidents can occur at a gathering at a friend’s home, a job site, or a grocery store freezer aisle. While the causes of these incidents can vary widely, here are some of the more common ones:
- Ice, sleet, or snow. If the owner of a property does not treat the parking lot or walkways outside a business with salt, people walking to and from their cars can easily slip and fall hard. Combine that with a hard surface, and broken bones can result.
- Wet floor. If the store manager does not clean up a spill in a grocery store promptly, an unsuspecting customer could turn the corner and slip and fall. An over-waxed floor could also cause this.
- Worn stairs. On an older staircase, the edges of the stairs often wear down, creating a slippery surface that can be very dangerous.
- Worn carpet or rug. Areas of carpet that have worn away can present a tripping hazard, as can rugs with edges that have curled up.
Obviously, slip-and-fall accidents aren’t limited to these situations, but they are some of the more prevalent causes.
How Courts Determine Liability
Determining who can be held liable for a slip-and-fall accident isn’t always straightforward; each situation is a little different. However, a few main factors always come in to play, including the following.
In order to receive damages, the plaintiff’s injury must have resulted from negligence on the part of the property owner or tenant. If the defendant wasn’t aware of the dangerous condition that caused the accident, or they didn’t have time to fix it before the injury occurred, they may not be found negligent.
However, if it can be shown that the defendant knew or should have reasonably known about the hazard, and they didn’t take prompt steps to correct it, they may have to pay damages.
Carelessness of the Plaintiff
Another factor that will be taken into consideration is whether carelessness on the part of the injured person was a contributing factor. If the injured person was looking at their phone while walking and tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, the other side could argue that the plaintiff’s own carelessness partially caused the accident. The plaintiff may still receive damages, but their own carelessness will likely lessen the amount they receive.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t slip or trip on someone’s property. Owners are expected to take reasonable precautions to help ensure the safety of guests, but people are also expected to pay attention to their surroundings. For these reasons, proving liability can be complicated.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall incident and aren’t sure how to proceed, contact the experienced team at the Cochran Firm – Huntsville. Our attorney can help you determine if you have a premises liability case and are entitled to compensation. Call our office today to set up your consultation with our experienced attorney.