When you or someone you love fall on another party’s property, then they may be responsible for any injuries you suffer as well as the medical bills and financial losses that you accrue. Property owners aren’t always liable for injuries that happen, but they may be if there were dangerous conditions present, if negligence took place or if there were other factors that caused your injuries that should have been avoided with appropriate maintenance or foresight.
When you speak with your attorney, the goal will be to find out if your injuries are the fault of the other person. For example, slipping on wet floors at a supermarket or falling down stairs that don’t have railings are accidents that could be prevented. Those accidents may be the result of property owner’s negligence.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Slip-and-fall accidents may be the liability of the property owner, depending on the circumstances that led to the incident. If you can show that a property did not receive the right maintenance or that there were hazards that were known and not repaired or corrected, then you may be able to hold an individual, government entity or business liable for the injuries that you suffered.
A few examples that your attorney may have seen in the past include:
- A property owner who doesn’t use a wet-floor sign to show that the floors are slick, leading to a consumer slipping and falling when walking into the building.
- A grocery store manager who knows that there is a spill but fails to block off the aisle or clean up the mess.
- A homeowner who knows that their stairs are dangerous but still does not install railings.
- A business owner who has a leak in the ceiling but doesn’t take steps to prevent water from collecting on the floor.
Each of these circumstances is just an example of how a property owner or other individual might know about a problem but still fail to take steps to correct the problem. By not addressing the hazard, they are creating a dangerous situation where one or more other people could be hurt. In some cases, people have even died from hazards like wet floors or broken stairs.
How Can You Prove Negligence In a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
The first thing your attorney will look at is how you slipped and fell. What were the circumstances that led to your accident? For example:
- Was there snow on a walkway where business owners knew that people would be walking? Did they fail to put down deicer or salt? If they don’t properly correct the problem, then their carelessness could lead to a claim.
- Were the floors wet due to a spill that the business owner knew about but did not order cleaned up? Even if there were wet-floor signs, you may have a case if you fall.
- Uneven flooring should be marked. If a property owner doesn’t let others know that the floors are uneven, then fall injuries could be their fault.
These are just a few examples of circumstances that may lead to slip-and-fall accidents and lead to a claim. To prove that you have a claim, you need to:
- Show that the owner knew about, or should have known about, the hazard that led to your fall.
- Show that the owner should have repaired or corrected the hazardous condition.
You should also be able to show that you fell and have financial losses as a result.
Which Documents Should I Keep for a Slip-and-Fall Case?
If you are going to make a claim, make sure you keep any documents related to the incident. For example, you may want to provide your attorney with:
- Pictures of the location where you fell (or videos, if you have them)
- Medical bills or receipts for medical care
- A copy of the incident report, if there is one
- Receipts for any expenses related to your fall, such as medical equipment or gasoline for travel to and from medical appointments
You should also make sure to let your attorney know if anyone else has been hurt in the same way. Prior incidents can help you prove that the owner knew about a dangerous part of their property and failed to do anything to correct the issue.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Slip-and-Fall Claim?
If you want to make a slip-and-fall claim, you should do so as soon as you can. The statute of limitation is set at three years for personal injury claims. If your claim is a wrongful death claim instead, then you only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a claim.
The time could be shorter or longer, depending on the specifics of your case, so it’s very important to talk to your attorney to determine if you still have time to bring a case. To avoid running out of time, the best option is always to file a claim as soon as you can following an accident.
How Soon Can the Case Be Settled?
Your case is going to be different from any other. As a result, there is no easy way to know how long it will take to settle it. Your attorney can talk to you more about what to expect based on their experience and the specifics of your case. Your attorney will work to resolve the case as soon as possible.