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Slip and Fall

Definition - What does Slip and Fall mean?

Claimants may, under some conditions, pursue a slip and fall accident claim if they can prove that someone else’s negligence caused their injuries. This is generally done under premise liability law by proving the property owner was either negligent and allowed a dangerous condition to exist on their property and did not take the necessary steps to eliminate the risk or they left a hazardous obstacle in a walking path.

Winning a Slip and Fall lawsuit

To win a personal injury claim for a slip and fall the claimant or injured party must prove several elements of their injury claim.

First, they must prove they had a right to be on the property and the owner owed them a duty of care. Consider, however, the owner’s duty of care may vary based on whether they were a legal visitor or a trespasser.

Next, the injured party must prove negligence, which means they must prove the owner breached their duty of care. Keep in mind, however, proving negligence means the injured party must prove the owner failed to behave as a “reasonably prudent person” would have behaved in a similar circumstance.

The court may also consider several elements when considering what is reasonable. For instance:

  • Did the owner have knowledge of the danger and the opportunity to eliminate it?
  • Did the property owner routinely perform necessary maintenance on their property?
  • Were there other factors which contributed to the accident such as poor lighting?
  • Could the hazard have been made less dangerous through appropriate signage?

If the court determines the owner was reasonable in their actions, regardless of your injuries, they may decide the owner was not negligent and they are not to blame for your injuries.

No Injury…No Negligence…No Injury Case

Now, assuming the owner was negligent and they did breach their duty of care, the plaintiff will still have to prove injury to win compensation for their slip and fall.

For example, if you slip and fall on a broken jar of ketchup in Wal-Mart and jump right back up and keep shopping you may not be able to win your injury claim because you cannot prove injury.

You also may not be able to win your claim if you cannot prove negligence. For instance, if the store owner did not know about the spill because it only happened seconds before you came down the aisle, they may not be held liable for your injuries, especially if they can prove they have a schedule and routine for cleaning up spills which is deemed reasonable by the court.

Next, the court may also decide that even if you were injured and the property owner was negligent, you should not be awarded compensation because your actions either partially or totally contributed to the accident.

For example, if you were walking and texting and slipped and fell in the spilled ketchup at Wal-Mart (assuming you were injured) the court may decide that your compensation should be reduced or eliminated because your actions contributed to your own injuries.

Will I receive compensation for my slip and fall?

Whether or not you will be compensated for your slip and fall will depend on several factors as mentioned above.

  • Were you engaged in any activity that contributed to your own injuries?
  • Can you prove the property owner was negligent and failed to eliminate the danger?
  • Did you file your claim prior to the statute of limitations?
  • Were you actually injured?
  • Did you have lawful access to the location where the accident occurred?
  • Did you ignore any safety warnings?

Remember, just because you fall down does not mean someone owes you money.

Talk to a lawyer if you have questions about your injuries caused by a slip and fall.

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