When a victim slips and falls on another person’s property this is referred to as a slip and fall accident case. If the victim fell through no fault of their own but instead fell because of some type of hazardous condition that the property owner failed to address, then the property owner could be liable for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses the victim suffers because of injuries he or she sustained in the slip and fall.
Some of the more common causes of slip and fall accidents for which a property owner could be held liable for include:
- The owner did not to post warning about wet floors
- The owner did not to clean up leaks or spills
- The owner did not to have stairs or ramps covered with slip prevention material
- The owner did not to have proper railings on stairways
- The owner did not repair a loose or broken step
- The owner did not repair a broken or cracked walkway
- The owner did not to have adequate lighting in common areas
When a slip and fall accident attorney evaluates a case, he or she will look at the answers to these two questions:
- What caused the victim to slip and fall?
- How did the cause get there?
The hazardous condition that caused the victim to slip and ultimately fall needs to be proved in order to prove the owner’s liability. In addition to the information the victim shares with the attorney, there is other evidence the attorney can use to help strengthen the accident case against the owner.
The attorney can examine any surveillance footage that may be available because of security cameras that might reveal exactly how the fall occurred. This is one reason why it is critical to retain an attorney right away, to ensure the property owner does not destroy this type of evidence which could help prove the victim’s case.
The attorney will also speak to any witnesses who may have seen the fall, as well as request the records of any emergency responders who may have been called to the scene of the accident, such as police or ambulance records. Emergency room and other medical records will also be used to help prove the injuries the victim suffered from the fall.
The next step the attorney will take is to determine how the hazardous condition that caused the victim to slip appeared. In order to prove the owner was liable, the attorney must prove that the owner knew or should have known about the danger.
When a dangerous issue such as improper railings caused the victim to slip, then it is fairly easy for the attorney to prove that the owner knew or should have known that they did not have the required railing, thereby putting people at risk of injury.
In other situations, it may not be as easy to prove. One example is when a customer falls on a wet floor in a retail or business establishment. If the customer fell on a wet floor because the owner or employee washed the floor but failed to put up a sign warning people, then the attorney could argue that the owner knew of the dangerous condition (the wet floor) but did not warn (put up signage).
However, if the wet floor was caused by a third party spilling something, it may be more difficult for the attorney to prove that owner liability. A slip and fall attorney recommends will have to determine how long the liquid was there and if the liquid was there long enough that the owner had enough time and should have addressed the hazard.