Interview: Who is Liable for Slip and Fall Injuries?

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It’s easy to blame your own clumsiness when you slip and fall, but did you know that it might be the property owner’s fault?

In this interview with David Klibaner, he says that many times, the property owner’s failure to adhere to codes, laws, and regulations is a big factor in severe slip and fall injuries. He suggests contacting an attorney just to find out if there’s chance this is the case with your claim.

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact David Klibaner now by filling out a form or by calling 888-593-1295.

Does it matter where the slip and fall took place?

In Colorado, it’s a complicated statute regarding slip and falls and trip and falls. If someone is hurt on a sidewalk outside someone’s house because they didn’t shovel, in most places in Denver, you can’t be sued as a property owner.

If you’re on a sidewalk owned by a business, then the business is responsible for keeping the sidewalk safe. In that case, you may be more successful in seeking justice.

Same goes for an apartment building, with some slight differences. The apartment owner should have taken reasonable measures to keep the area safe.

If you’re visiting someone else’s apartment, then it’s harder ot bring a claim. You have to show that the property manager knew there was a problem, not that they should have known.

How do you file a claim for a slip and fall on government/public property?

The process is much more complicated if the injury takes place on government property. There’s a strict requirement that you need to bring a claim within 182 days, otherwise you are barred forever in bringing a claim against the government entity.

How can you tell if you have a viable slip and fall case?

Not necessarily. Generally it needs to be a fairly serious injury. Sometimes there’s a very clear rule violation, such as stairway not being properly maintained, building codes violated, etc. In those cases, even if the injury isn’t serious, they could be successful if there is an obvious violation.

How do you demonstrate that the property owner knew the condition was dangerous?

Try to document what happened as much as possible as soon as possible. Take photos of the stairs, sidewalk, elevator, etc. If possible, talk to neighbors and witnesses to see if anybody has complained before. For example, an apartment manager failing to remove ice for a long period of time. Finally, speak to an attorney who can launch an investigation into the matter. As an individual, you do not need to prove that the property owner knew about the dangerous condition. That is the attorney’s job.

Does it affect the case if the person who fell was partially responsible?

You have to prove that the responsible party was 51 percent or more responsible. Someone can be partially at fault and still have a claim. The defendants always try to blame the person who fell, but usually you can fight those defenses. Most people don’t fall for no reason. Usually there’s something wrong the the surface, such as:

  • A leveling problem
  • Slick surface
  • Obstacles in the way

Even if someone is partially at fault, they often have a claim.

What if you accept some sort of gift or payment from the owner, like a gift card or comped meal? Can you still file a premises liability lawsuit?

It should be fine, as long as nothing is put in writing or signed that waives the rights to seek legal action. Usually at the time the person doesn’t realize how badly they’re injured. If you think you might be hurt, get medical attention and try to fill out an incident report where this happened so they have notice and they formally record that it happened. In some instances, people are seriously hurt, they don’t bring the claim until a year later, and the defendant claims it never happened.

If the property owner’s insurance company contacts you, what should you tell them?

Don’t talk to them. Say that you need to talk to an attorney. However, even if you do, it probably won’t harm your case to tell the insurance company a factual account of what happened. Generally speaking, best practice is to defer those questions to your attorney.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Author: David Klibaner

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