Who can I hold liable for my slip and fall injuries?
In most cases, a person who sustains injuries in a slip and falls on another person’s property must show that the cause of the fall was an unreasonably dangerous condition and that the owner or occupant of the property knew, or should have known, about such condition. A dangerous condition qualifies as such if it presents an unreasonable hazard to people on the property.
To prove that a property owner or occupant was aware of a dangerous condition, a claimant must show that:
- The owner or occupant created the dangerous condition;
- The owner or occupant knew the dangerous condition was present and failed to correct it; or
- The dangerous existed for a sufficient period that the owner or occupant should have discovered the danger and corrected it before to the slip and fall accident.
To hold a property owner or occupant liable, the claimant must show that it was foreseeable that neglecting the danger could cause injuries. For example, say a jar of sauce falls to the floor and spills sauce in a grocery aisle and, a day later, the grocery has not noticed or cleaned it up. If someone slips in the sauce and is injured, the claimant will likely successfully argue that it was foreseeable the grocery’s negligence in failing to inspect the aisles and clean up any spilled liquids would cause someone to slip and sustain injuries.
Occasionally, a claimant can show negligence by providing evidence that the property owner was in violation of a relevant regulation or statute. For example, many building codes dictate the proper location and placement of handrails and other similar features on a stairway. If a person falls on a stairway that did not have the appropriate handrails, which caused injuries, that person may have a claim against the owner based on the violation of the building code.