Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are those relatively common types of accidents that occur when someone slips over and falls down and suffers some kind of injury. Most slip and fall accidents occur because of slippery floor surfaces.
Many slip and fall accidents are preventable. Although some slip and fall accidents are due to people not concentrating on where they are walking or standing, many more are due to negligent maintenance of public facilities. When negligence can be proven, the injured victim of a slip and fall accident may be able to recover compensation from the party that has a duty of care for the premises or location where the accident took place.
Slip and fall accidents can lead to a range of injuries from the very minor to the very serious. Even minor injuries may need medical treatment and this can be an expense which the accident victim may not be able to afford. More serious injuries can mean surgery, hospital bills, medication(s), loss of wages or other income and possibly more long-term expenses and financial impact.
Elements of Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
Duty of Care
When managers or owners of properties allow others to use their premises, they have duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe to use. These property owners and managers typically take out premises liability insurance to cover them for any sort of accident that could take place, including slip and fall accidents.
Breach of Duty
Breach of duty of care can lead to a personal injury claim filed against the owner or manager of the place where the accident and injury took place.
One common example of breach of duty of care is when customers of a fast food restaurant alert management of the facility that a soft drink has spilled on a section of the floor, but there is no follow up to remove, or deal with the hazard. The section of floor could have been cleaned and dried, or the access to the area made off limits.
For a successful claim, there must be clear evidence of a breach of duty of care and that the preventable hazard caused the accident and injury. Failure to provide this level of proof may lead to an unsuccessful outcome.
Factors Influencing Liability
In a personal injury case, the defendant in a lawsuit must be shown to have been aware of a potential hazard, but did not sufficiently do anything to warn others of the hazard or limit access to the area where the hazard existed.
Premises liability insurers will try and allege that the hazard that caused the accident was foreseeable, i.e. people using that location or area should have been able to avoid an accident because the hazard was easy to spot. An evaluation of how foreseeable the hazard was is often a contentious part of a slip and fall personal injury claim.
Slip and fall accident claims can often be hard to win as the defendant’s insurers and lawyers will attempt to allege that the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the accident, i.e. they weren’t sufficiently careful as they moved around the premises. In many states, shared fault may lead to reduced compensation awarded, or no compensation at all.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Slip and fall compensation claims can be hard to win because of the difficulty in proving negligence and countering claims that the victim was at fault or shared fault. This is why it is advisable to use a personal injury attorney to provide legal advice and representation when negotiating a claim if a slip and fall accident victim chooses to pursue compensation. To get connected and speak with a personal injury lawyer who can help today, complete the Free Case Evaluation form on this page.