Many people do not consider the possibility of filing a lawsuit after they slip and fall on private property. However, property and business owners can face liability if they do not keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. After a slip and fall injury, many clients want to know:
- How do you prove negligence in a slip and fall accident?
- How do I prove a slip and fall accident wasn’t my fault?
- How can an attorney help me prove fault in a slip and fall accident?
Our team at Harris Law Firm can answer any questions you have about premises liability claims. Contact our office today so we can determine if you qualify to file a lawsuit.
Who Can Be Liable After a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall lawsuit is also known as a premises liability claim. The legal doctrine of premises liability means that property owners are responsible for certain accidents that occur on their property. Property owners owe a duty of care to most individuals present on their property.
To satisfy the duty of care, property owners are obligated to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. If the property owner fails to do so, they can face liability for the damages incurred by the injured party. Individuals and businesses that own, lease, occupy, or control a particular piece of property could potentially face liability. This may include:
- Store managers,
- Property management companies, or
- Commercial tenants.
However, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. Thus, if someone breaks into a grocery store after hours and suffers an injury due to a fall, they cannot seek compensation for their damages.
How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident
Premises liability claims ultimately depend on showing that a property owner was negligent in the maintenance and upkeep of their property. Negligence requires showing four elements: (1) duty of care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages.
As stated earlier, property owners owe a duty of care to people legally on their property to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition and remedy any open and obvious dangers in a timely manner.
A property owner can breach their duty in several ways, including:
- Leaving drink or food spills exposed,
- Failing to provide warnings for wet or icy conditions,
- Not including adequate lighting in stairways,
- Failing to remove debris from walkways, or
- Failing to warn of open and obvious dangers. Failing to warn of dangers that are not open and obvious.
You can offer photographs or other documentation of any of these factors to demonstrate proof of the property owner’s breach. In some cases, the timing of the condition may become an issue. A store manager cannot be in every part of the store at the same time, but after a reasonable amount of time has passed, they can be considered negligent for their failure to remedy a hazardous condition.
To prove causation, you must show that the property owner’s negligence was the direct cause of your injury. While this may seem relatively straightforward, the property owner may claim external factors caused your fall. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you establish the link between your injury and the property owner’s negligence.
Lastly, you must suffer actual harm to pursue compensation for a slip and fall accident. In other words, you cannot file a lawsuit if your injury did not cost you in some way. The types of damages people typically incur in slip and fall accidents are described further below.
Types of Damages in a Slip and Fall Accident
A slip and fall settlement should compensate you for any damages you suffered as a result of your fall, including:
- Lost wages for missed work,
- Medical bills (including expenses incurred traveling to and from visits),
- Rehabilitation costs,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of future earning capacity.
Remember, showing you suffered harm is a critical element of a negligence claim. You can prove you incurred these costs by presenting your medical bills, testimony from your doctor, or photographic evidence.
Need to Know How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at Harris Law Firm
Proving that a property owner was negligent is a complex task. Luckily, our team at Harris Law Firm is here to help. We can review the details of your claim and determine whether you qualify to file a premises liability lawsuit. Our team has extensive experience helping clients who suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents. We look forward to putting our skills and resources to work for you.