Slip and fall accidents deal with premises liability, meaning that the slip and fall took place on someone’s property. However, the owner of the property isn’t automatically held liable because sometimes slips and falls happen entirely by accident. In fact, the burden of proof is mainly on the person who slipped. They have to prove that they were injured as a result of the property owner’s carelessness and negligence.
Could It Have Been Prevented?
A key question is whether or not the property owner made every reasonable effort to ensure no one was likely to slip and fall on their property. This reflects the property owner’s obligation to fulfill their “duty of care” and make sure they provide a hazard-free environment. To determine if the slip and fall could have been avoided, the insurance company or jury will look at the circumstances of the accident.
- If there were uneven floorboards, a pothole, or other slip and fall hazards then they should have been addressed and marked in the meantime as dangerous.
- Was the slip and fall victim acting carelessly in some way which caused them to slip and fall, through no fault of the property owner?
- Did the injured party have a reasonable reason for being on the property at the time?
- Should the property owner have had a reasonable expectation that the slip and fall victim would be on the property?
- Did the property owner provide warning of the dangerous hazard or put up a barrier to keep people away from it?
- Would a reasonable person have noticed the dangerous condition and acted with reasonable care to avoid harm?
- Was the slip and fall accident victim engaging in any other activities that may have lead to their slip and fall? (Were they running, inebriated, or texting while walking?)
What Must Be Proven
To win a case against a property owner, an injured party must prove:
- The owner of the property created the harmful condition;
- The owner of the property knew of the harmful condition;
- The owner of the property did not properly fix it; and
- The hazardous condition existed long enough that the property owner had a reasonable time to discover it and address it.
What If The Slip and Fall Victim Was Just Clumsy?
This may be apparent if the property owner is one who takes pride in the upkeep of their property. If they have a reputation for keeping the property in optimum condition and can document this, it becomes more of a challenge for the slip and fall victim to prove the owner’s negligence. If the victim does not have photographs or video showing the hazard which caused the accident, it can be challenging to make a strong case against the property owner.
Talk to an Attorney
If a property owner can prove that they took reasonable care to correct the hazardous condition, or warned of it while waiting for it to be fixed, they will probably not be held liable. If you were involved in a slip and fall accident and believe the other party was negligent, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on as soon as possible.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into truck accident case.