When suing for a slip and fall injury claim, the main problem lies in proving that you are not at fault for the injury. Either side can carry the day, or you may fail to win full or partial compensation. This is because while the injury may have occurred due to negligence on the part of the property owner, it could also be that you were not careful enough in preventing it.
When calculating compensation, the judge or jury will usually take into account the part you may have played in causing the injury. You therefore need to exonerate yourself from being found to be partially or fully responsible, and a competent personal injury lawyer is best placed to help you do so.
Holding the Property Owner Responsible
Some circumstances can lead to the owner of the property being held responsible for a slip and fall injury. They include:
- If the premise owner or their employee needed to have been aware of the danger posed in the facility that any other person of similar capacity would have known about and eliminated the threat.
- If the premise owner or their employee were actually aware of the danger but did nothing to fix it. Such as a leaking roof that made the floor slippery or a chipped floor that caused you to trip.
- If the premise owner or their employee actually caused or created the danger that led to the accident. If, for example, the property owner carelessly left an obstacle on the premise that caused you to trip and fall.
In some situations, you may be held responsible for your injury because you did not exercise enough caution in preventing it. The judge or jury might find your actions to have contributed to your slipping and consequent injury, in what is known as “comparative negligence”. If, for example, you were busy texting on your phone when you ran into an obstacle, you may be taken to have significantly contributed to the fall.
Cases where your negligence could be found to have caused your injury include:
- If you had no legitimate reason for being on the property at the time the slip and fall accident occurred. Or, if the owner of the premise wasn’t expecting your presence
- If there was a warning sign or barrier erected by the property owner concerning the danger that caused you to slip and fall
- If you were involved in an activity or activities that may have caused you to trip and fall such as using a phone or running around the danger
- If you could have exercised more caution than you did when you fell by using the provided safety means. An example would be if you held onto the rails when using a slippery staircase.
Proving You Were Not Negligent
The owner of the property will often argue that you’re to blame for the slip and fall injury under the “comparative negligence” concept. In the event they succeed in showing you share in the liability, the award you receive as compensation reduces by a percentage that equals your contributory share in the accident.
A slip and fall injury lawyer can help you recover claims by arguing your case to show that responsibility for the injury entirely lies with the property owner. To find information to build a strong case against the defendant, the lawyer may ask you questions concerning the following, or otherwise seek to find the answers elsewhere;
1. The circumstances that led you to being at the place where the fall happened and if your presence was legitimate. That is, if the property owner expected or needed you to be there.
2. For how long the danger had been there, and if it was reasonable for the property owner to allow the threat to exist. Also, if the owner was already aware if there was such a danger.
3. The nature of maintenance practices the property owner engages in and how frequent they are. This would help determine how reasonable it was for them to allow the danger to exist.
4. If the object that caused you to trip was reasonably there at the time. For example, a paint in the living room during renovations could be taken to be at a reasonable place, but not so months later after the renovation activities are over.
When looking to get full compensation after falling and injuring yourself, you would need to show that the defendant is at fault. A good personal injury lawyer can help you win your case easily. Remember, the law has you covered provided you can prove that you were reasonably cautious at the time the accident occurred.