Understanding the Elements of a Slip and Fall Case

In the United States, there are laws in each state that afford its citizens the right to bring a lawsuit demanding compensation if they are personally injured by a person, business, corporation or government entity (“defendants”). These injuries can happen in a variety of situations including vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, defective or harmful products, injuries sustained while on public or private property, robberies and fights, and other situations in which the defendants are involved or related.

When the person or plaintiff uses a reputable law firm like Hansen Injury Law to file these cases, they are called personal injury and are civil rather than criminal meaning the defendant does not face jail time, but monetary damages for the injuries caused.

What is Slip and Fall?

Slip-and-fall, is a personal injury claim based on a person slipping (or tripping) and falling on public or private property and sustaining an injury as a result. It is based on the allegation that the owner or business was careless in allowing some hazardous condition to exist that caused the fall. These cases are often filed based on someone getting harmed in a business where there is a spill on the floor causing the person to slip, a parking lot or walkway where the flooring is in disrepair resulting in a harmful fall, or while on public property that has not been maintained adequately by the city.

Slip and fall cases occur on public or private property and can happen under any circumstances. They are the most filed type of personal injury cases and are complex, demanding that many dynamics are investigated in order to find out if the property owner or business is liable.

For most business and property owners, slip-and-fall cases are unavoidable, although there are ways to minimize their potential. Owners should commit to regular property maintenance, immediate removal of any hazards, and clearing of potential harm-causing situations timely and thoroughly from their property or business.

If the owner is negligent or someone responsible for maintenance fails to do their job in keeping customers and visitors safe from harm, the property or business can be held liable for the harm and loss that befalls as a result of their disregard. In the event a slip-and-fall claim is filed against them, property owners usually list one of two defenses:

  1. The injured person is at fault – The most common defense a property or business owner will use is that any reasonable person who was exercising the proper amount of care for his or her own safety, would have seen there was a probable danger and took the necessary steps to avoid it.
  1. They are not negligent – Owners will sometimes claim that the hazard was either not obvious or there was not adequate time to remove it meaning they cannot be held liable for the slip and fall.

Depending on the full set of circumstances these excuses may or may not suffice and the owner may be liable. There are a set of standards that need to be met in a slip and fall case for the owner to be liable. They are:

  • Has the owner exercised what is referred to as “duty of care” meaning taken the necessary precautions to keep their property and its contents as safe as possible?
  • If the owner was aware of unsafe conditions and did absolutely nothing to rectify them, in a timely manner, this could be reason enough to make them liable.
  • Was the injury actually caused by the property’s dangerous environment? If there are other factors that did or most likely did cause the injury, the owner again might not be held liable.
  • Was the person injured simply careless?

Finally like any personal injury case, the plaintiff must show:

Duty of care – The owner had a duty to maintain the property or business in a safe condition

Breach of duty – The owner was negligent in his duty of care.

Causation – The owner’s negligence is what caused the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.

Damages – The injury suffered can be remedied by monetary damages being awarded t the plaintiff.

This article provides a brief and incomplete overview of slip and fall legal cases. To understand more you should speak with a legal professional who specializes in these cases.