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Slip and Fall Accidents

By Edited Oct 16, 2015 0 1

Slip and Fall is the personal injury case term that occurs when a person slips and falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. Property owners have a certain responsibility to ensure safety for their guests. This includes taking the precautionary steps required to remove or fix any hazardous condition, such as torn carpeting, changes in flooring, narrow stairs, wet floors, or poor lightening. Any one of these could cause serious injury to a person if left unattended.

Slip and fall accidents can occur inside or outside on commercial, residential, or private property. These cases are governed under negligence law and are the most common type of "premises liability" cases, which call into question the owner's responsibility to ensure safety on the property. In order to win premise liability cases, the victim must prove the defendant either created the hazard or had prior knowledge of it, which is often difficult, especially in weather-related accidents. Generally, the owner may be held liable if he or she knew about the hazard and had reasonable opportunity to repair the problem, but did not.

Types of slip and fall accidents:

1. Structural defects
Structural defects include: age, wear or tear, uneven steps, parking lot potholes, cracked sidewalks, broken tiles, torn carpeting, or negligence on the part of the owner to repair a hazardous situation. The victim and attorney must prove that the property owner was either aware or should have been aware of the problem, but failed to repair it. Cases involving injury by fire or other accidents resulting from defects in the conditions of the building also fall under this category.

Violations of a building statute are also considered structural defects. Injury may result when a building or structure is not in compliance with local municipal building codes.

2. Weather Related Accidents
Although owners are required to take precautionary steps to prevent accidents, such as shoveling snow, salting icy steps, etc, these cases can be difficult to prove. Since plaintiffs have the burden of proof, it may be difficult to show that the property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition. In situations where the owner could not have had a reasonable opportunity to fix the problem, he or she will not be held liable. For example, a flash flood.

3. Comparative Negligence
Negligence can go both ways. Guests on someone else's property are expected to exercise reasonable caution and judgment. For example, if an injury occurs while the victim was texting while walking down a flight of stairs, the owner will not be held liable.

AMOUNT OF DAMAGES:

There is no simple, universal formula that puts a price tag on injury, pain and suffering; however, attorneys use the following simple calculation to determine the worth of the injury: lost income plus medical expenses plus property damage. Your attorney will also speak to you about the nature of your mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of opportunity, and over-all pain and suffering. A number of other factors may also be considered including:

Degree of defendant's liability
Nature of the injury
Credibility of the jurors
Credibility of the defendant
Victim's age
Witnesses
Credibility of any witnesses

This formula merely serves as a guideline, because every case is different. It is important to keep in mind if pursuing a personal injury lawsuit that your attorney cannot guarantee a certain amount of damages. The amount awarded is determined on a case by case basis.
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Comments

Aug 14, 2010 12:24am
Mesriani_Law_Group
I agree with you there.

Another possible defense of property owners is if the dangerous condition is out in the open.

Property owners can argue that since the hazard is pretty obvious, the visitor had a way to reasonably avoid the dangerous condition.
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