There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to slip and fall accidents. Was the property properly maintained? Was it reasonable to expect the property owner or manager to know about the hazard? Did the victim venture into an area that was clearly marked as off-limits? Did the victim not take the necessary steps to ensure their own safety. There is a lot for civil courts to determine when they are handed a slip and fall case.
Property Owner’s Fault
Contrary to popular belief, a slip and fall accident is not always the fault of the property owner. A slip and fall accident can be the fault of a property owner if:
- The victim was invited or welcome on the property. For example, a retail customer is considered a welcomed guest.
- The conditions that created the accident could have been prevented by the property owner, or the property owner had reasonable amount of time to be informed of and address the issue. For example, if someone spills a slippery substance on a slick hotel floor and the person walking behind them slips and falls, the hotel cannot be held responsible.
- If the property owner caused the dangerous condition and did nothing to resolve it, then the property owner could be responsible.
In situations where invited guests ignore clearly posted signs warning of danger, then the property owner is often not held responsible for the accident.
Property Owner Is Not At Fault
If a person is not using reasonable safety when walking on the owner’s property, then the owner may not be at fault. For example, if someone wearing soft-soled dress shoes runs across an ice rink and falls, then the owner of the rink may not be be responsible.
A person who is not invited onto a property or is not a welcomed guest often does not have a claim in a slip and fall accident. If a person does not use reasonable judgment to avoid a dangerous situation, then the property owner may not be held at fault.
If the victim was contributing to their own slip and fall accident, then the property owner may not be liable. For example, a person who runs across a slick hotel floor in dress shoes for no reason may not be able to sue if they slip and fall.
What To Do If You Fall?
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, then it is important that you notify the management of the property and ask for a report to be filed. If you need medical assistance, then you should get that as soon as possible.
Understand that insurance companies will utilize video footage and eyewitnesses to try and show that your slip and fall accident was a hoax. By asking for an immediate management report, you can preserve the incident and get an official account of the accident from staff that was working at the time.
Proving fault in a slip and fall accident is often not easy. If there is no video of the fall available, then any claim becomes a matter of he said, she said. It is important to take pictures and get official documentation of your fall to help you prove your case.