Signs That You May Have a Slip-and-Fall Claim
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Glenn A. Perry with Sloan Firm.
Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents are remarkably common; while they are not always avoidable, whenever a serious injury occurs in one of these situations as the result of another party’s negligence, the injured party may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Common causes of slip-and-fall accidents include untreated icy or cracked sidewalks, broken stairs, and missing railings; in each of these scenarios, the person in charge of the maintenance for that sidewalk, stairway, or railing could potentially be liable.
Business owners, property managers, and maintenance providers all owe a duty of care to the people who live, work, visit, or even pass through their property; this duty of care requires them to provide for basic safety, including taking the necessary measures to avoid slip-and-fall accidents.
If your slip-and-fall could have been avoided with proper attention to the premises, you may have a claim.
Sometimes a slip or trip and fall occurs for no other reason than lack of coordination. If somebody slips or trips due to their own human error without any significant contributing factors, the likelihood of a viable claim decreases. Failing to wear proper footwear for the terrain, lack of basic attention to surroundings, and intoxication or substance abuse are all ways a person can contribute to or even cause their own slip-and-fall injury outside of the home.
If the injury would most likely never have been sustained without one or more of these factors, the premises is likely not the problem, therefore filing a claim may not be a viable avenue for recovery. However, if the premises could have been made reasonably safer by taking basic safety precautions, or the injury would have occurred regardless of the injured party’s actions, the opportunity for a claim may be stronger than not.
If someone else was responsible for the property, you may have a claim.
While it’s more difficult to establish external liability for accidents that happen inside your own home or on your own property, when someone else has a legal obligation to the safety of a premises, they may be liable for resulting injuries. This means that if you were the only person with a legal responsibility to prevent slip-and-fall conditions, such as within your home, you likely do not have a claim for your injury.
However, if the slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall occurred outside of the home due to unsafe conditions or poor maintenance, it is quite possible that you may have a premises liability claim against the person responsible for the upkeep of that area. For example, if the injury occurred on a sidewalk, this might mean the business in front of the sidewalk or possibly even local or state government could be liable for the accident.
The best way to find out if you have a viable slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall claim is to talk to a premises liability attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients don’t have to pay unless they win their case. A premises liability attorney can help you quickly identify any liable parties and establish the viability of your claim to decide how to best seek your recovery.