Many people are injured each year -- some very seriously -- when they slip or trip and fall on a dangerous floor, a flight of stairs, or a rough patch of ground. Sometimes the property owner is responsible for the accident, and sometimes he or she is not.
A property owner (or occupier) cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is a property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we're going.
However, property owners do need to be careful in keeping up their property. While there is no precise way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip, cases turn on whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen -- and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing you fell on.
To be legally responsible for the injuries you suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on another person's property, one of the following must be true:
The third situation is the most common, but is also less clear-cut than the first two because of those pesky words "should have known." Liability in these cases is often decided by common sense. Judges and juries determine whether the owner or occupier of property was careful by deciding if the steps the owner or occupier took to keep the property safe were reasonable.
In determining a property owner's "reasonableness," the law concentrates on whether the owner makes regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean. Some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip or trip and fall injuries are:
If the answers to one or more of these questions come out in your favor, you may have a good claim for compensation. Contact The Soignier Law Firm, LLC and we will evaluate your claim to determine if you have a case for premises liability.