If you or a loved one has recently suffered an injury from a slip and fall, you may have grounds for a legal case. Read on to discover the specifics of slip-and-fall claims.
A slip (or trip) and fall injury is a type of “premises liability claim”, whereby an individual has suffered an injury while on the property of another person or business. The injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injury from the property owner or occupant and/or their insurance company.
Property owners have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in keeping their property safe for all persons lawfully on the property. This duty may include correcting the hazardous condition; guarding against encountering the hazard; or warning others about the hazardous condition if it cannot be corrected. What is “reasonable” depends upon the facts and circumstances of each particular situation. This duty is not absolute however, and property owners have three basic defenses to slip and fall claims:
- Lack of Negligence: The defendant (that is, the property owner or occupant) may argue that they were not “negligent” in creating the condition that caused the injury in question, or were not negligent in correcting the condition before injury occurred. For example, a store owner might claim that water on a floor, causing a patron to slip, had been spilled only moments before by another patron. Thus, in the exercise of due diligence, the owner (even when acting with reasonable care) would not have had time to discover and mitigate the situation.
- Contributory Negligence: The defendant may claim that the injured person was responsible for his or her own injury; using the same example, that any reasonable patron exercising due diligence for his or her own safety, would see the spilled water and avoid it. This is known as encountering a condition which is “open and obvious”, thereby assuming any risk of injury.
- Immunity from Liability: The property owner is immune or protected from liability by the status of the owner (i.e., a governmental entity), or the status of the property (i.e., it is used for protected purposes).
Understanding that property owners have these defenses at their disposal, you may still have a case. We will evaluate your case and help you determine that best course of action. Our attorneys will guide you through the process from start to finish.
We know that you will have many questions about your rights and the claim process. Visit our Slip and Fall overview page at the link below to receive a free case evaluation, or call us today at (320)-252-1200. All consultations with our experienced slip and fall attorneys are confidential and without obligation.