Slip, Trip, or Fall Accident Attorneys Responsibilities
Many conditions can lead to injury, slick flooring, wet flooring, narrow stairs, poor lighting, or tripping hazards such as extension cords can cause an individual to slip or trip and be injured. Similarly, if someone trips on a broken or cracked sidewalk or tumbles down a flight of stairs, the owner can be held liable. In addition, slipping can occur due to slick surfaces wet from rain, snow, ice, or a hidden peril, such as a pothole.
Establishing Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
An injured individual of a slip and fall on another’s property must prove the cause of the accident was a “hazardous condition” and that the property owner knew of the hazardous condition. A hazardous condition must pose an unnecessary risk to an individual on the property, and it must be a condition that the injured party could not have anticipated under the conditions. The latter requirement implies that an individual must be aware of and avoid obvious hazards.
To establish that a property owner knew of a hazardous condition, it must be shown that:
- The property owner created the condition or knew of the condition and was negligent in correcting it; or
- For such a duration of time, the condition existed that the property owner ought to have noticed and corrected it prior to the slip, trip, or fall incident in question.
- For an owner to be held liable, the hazard must have been a foreseeable liability that his negligence created the danger in question.
The property owner must have caused or known of the dangerous surface or item.
Knew of the dangerous surface and failed to do anything about it; or,
Should have been aware of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person charged with caring for the property would have noticed and removed or repaired the hazard.
A third liability situation (the most common, although less clear) is decided by common sense. The law determines if the owner or occupier hazard remediation steps were reasonable.
In slip, trip, or fall cases on commercial real estate, there are often numerous individuals or entities that could be held responsible for another’s injuries.
The landlord had jurisdiction over the hazard that caused the slip, trip, or fall.
Repairing the hazardous condition would not have been unreasonably burdensome or expensive.
A serious injury was an identifiable consequence of failing to fix the hazard. The landlord’s failure to remediate led to the accident that caused the tenant, or third party’s slip, trip, or fall injury.