When a slip and fall accident happens inside or outside of a store or other businesses, there may or may not be a premises liability claim. The owner or renter of the property may be partially or entirely at fault for the accident. In order for your claim to be successful though, you must prove the owner/renter was negligent and that you acted reasonably.
Landlord vs. Store Owner
Store owners sometimes own their property. It’s very common for store owners to rent their space from a landlord/property owner though. An accident that happens on the premises, whether inside or outside the business, may be the responsibility of either owner and sometimes both.
Here are a few scenarios, including who is responsible for injuries that occur in each situation:
- If you slip and fall because of a defective floor, broken pipe leaking, or some other structural issue, then the landlord/property owner is usually liable.
- If your slip and fall accident happens because of the actions or inactions of the store owner/tenant (or one of his or her employees), then the store owner/renter is usually liable. One of example of this kind of incident is when a recently mopped floor is slick but not marked by caution signs, or neglecting to clean up snow or ice during inclement weather.
- When a slip and fall accident occurs because of a structural concern of which the store owner AND the property owner were both aware but neither did anything about, then both may be held liable for injuries.
- If you slipped on ice or snow that the owners or landlords failed to remove.
When an accident occurs in any of these circumstances, a claim should be filed with the insurance company of both the landlord/property owner and the store owner/tenant. It’s the job of the insurance companies to work out the details of who is liable and therefore responsible for your claim.
Keep in mind that an attorney may be necessary to file a compelling claim and to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or companies involved.
How to Determine Negligence
In order for you to have a personal injury claim after a slip and fall, someone else must be liable for your injuries. To be found liable:
- The property owner and/or store owner must have been negligent
- His or her negligence must have caused your accident.
An owner can be negligent due to his or her actions or inactions. To determine negligence, the situation in which your injuries occurred must be examined in detail. You must look at what caused your accident and whether the store owner/property owner:
- Directly caused the issue
- Was aware of the issue and failed to address, resolve, or warn about it in a reasonable time frame
- Should have reasonably anticipated the issue and done something about it
Keep in mind that your own actions can also affect a personal injury claim. If the store or property owner warned you in some way that the area was dangerous and you should not have been there, then they acted reasonably. In this case, your own negligence or carelessness caused your injuries.
Negligence is only applicable in some slip and fall accidents in other words. The property owner and/or store manager cannot foresee, prevent, or warn about all hazards. You also cannot always anticipate or notice all hazards. Property and store owners are however expected to “reasonably” anticipate hazards and act to prevent injuries. When they fail to do so, they are negligent and therefore liable for any injuries suffered.
Whether you get hurt at a large corporation's store or a small mom-and-pop, the other party wants to settle for as little as possible. To help ensure that you get adequate compensation for your injuries, make sure to consult with a personal injury lawyer to help negotiate the most fair settlement.