There might be many causes of these accidents. Certain dangerous conditions include torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, or a wet floor. There are many such incidents where someone trips on a broken or cracked public sidewalks or falls down a flight of stairs. Also, a slip and fall case might arise when someone slips or falls outdoors due to rain, ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a pothole in the ground. In order to collect damages, it is required by the plaintiff to have sustained some kind of injury, however minor it is.
These cases are investigated intently to determine when someone else is legally responsible for your injuries if you slip or trip. It is verified whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen. It is also probed whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the condition that caused your fall. You need to know some basic general rules that can help you decide whether someone else was at fault for your slip or trip and fall injury.
In most cases, a person injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property needs proof that the cause of the accident was a “dangerous condition,” and that the owner or possessor of the property knew of the dangerous condition. A dangerous condition in this context implies an unreasonable risk to a person on the property, and it must have been a condition that the injured party should not have anticipated under the circumstances. This specific requirement indicates that people must be aware of the most likely dangers and must avoid them.
When you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property because of a dangerous condition, you will likely need to be able to show one of the following in order to win a case for your injuries:
- Either the property owner or his employee should have known of the dangerous condition because another, “reasonable” person in his or her position would have known about the dangerous condition and fixed it.
- Either the property owner or his employee actually did know about the dangerous condition but did not repair or fix it.
- Either the property owner or his employee caused the dangerous condition (spill, broken flooring, etc.).
In order to establish that a property owner or possessor knew of a dangerous condition, it must be shown that the owner or possessor created the condition; the owner or possessor knew the condition existed and negligently failed to correct it; the condition existed for such a length of time that the owner or possessor should have discovered and corrected it prior to the slip and fall incident in question. It needs to be shown that the property owner’s negligence had been foreseeable for him or her to be held liable.
There must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury to recover from a slip and fall injury sustained on another’s property. There are many people who do not realize that some injuries are simply accidents caused by their own carelessness or not taking the warnings seriously enough.
As far as commercial property is concerned, the owner or possessor of a store, restaurant, or other business or an employee of the business must have been the following ways to be legally responsible for the injuries someone suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property:
- Must have caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item, to be underfoot.
- Must have known of the dangerous surface but did nothing about it; or,
- Should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
Liability in these cases is usually decided by common sense. The law determines the owner or occupier of property to be careful if the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable.
In slip and fall cases on commercial property, there are often a number of people or entities that may be held responsible for someone’s injuries.
As far as residential property is concerned, landlords are held liable to tenants or third parties for slip and fall injuries on rental property. In order to hold a landlord responsible for an injury, a tenant must show that:
- The landlord had control over the condition that caused the slip and fall.
- Repairing the condition would not have been unreasonably expensive or difficult.
- A serious injury was the foreseeable consequence of not fixing the condition and,
- The landlord’s failure to take reasonable steps to avoid an accident caused the tenant’s slip and fall injury.
When it comes to government property, special rules will apply. It involves a slip and fall injury taking place on property owned by a local, state, or federal government entity. There are very stringent notice requirements and broad immunity provisions that sometimes shield government entities.
It is sometimes pretty difficult to prove who is at fault for slip and fall accidents. There are thousands of people each year who are injured, many seriously, from slipping and falling on a floor, stairs, or another surface that has become slick or dangerous. The even uneven ground can lead to dangerous accidents causing severe injuries.
If you have been a victim of a slip-and-fall accident, make sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Remember that Florida’s statutes of limitations limit the time for you to file a lawsuit. If you think you have a claim, have a free initial consultation with an attorney. Once your claim is reviewed, you can focus on healing any injuries you sustained with the help of an experienced legal advice.