In most cases, the last thing a person has on their mind when they are out running errands is where their feet are going. Whether someone is chatting with friends while perusing a mall, making the rounds in the grocery store or simply browsing local shops, a bad fall and subsequent injury should not have to be at the front of a person’s mind.
When a person takes a bad fall due to a hazard like ice or faulty stairs, it is natural to want to look for a culprit. The reality is that private property owners are required to provide upkeep on their property. If they fail to do so and someone is badly injured, then it is on them to cover the medical bills and other financial considerations. The problem is that proving that a fall was the property owner’s fault can be a challenge.
How to prove a property owner was at fault
One of the best ways a person can advocate for themselves after a serious fall is to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. A professional will help to gather evidence and aggressively present the case to the property owner.
An attorney can prove fault in a few ways, including:
- The property owner or an employee was directly responsible for the hazard that caused the fall. For example, if a grocery store employee dropped a container of oil then left the scene and a customer slipped in it, then the store would be responsible for the injuries.
- The property owner or an employee was aware of a hazard but ignored the problem. For example, if an apartment renter told their landlord about a broken stairway handrail, but it was never repaired, and they fell down the stairs, the landlord would be responsible.
- The property owner or an employee should have intuited the hazard because any “reasonable” person would have. This is the largest grey area because it is the least cut and dried. An example may be if freezing rain fell all night and a person slipped on icy pavement in front of a business the next day. It could be argued that the business was at fault because any reasonable person would obviously know that freezing rain would make their stretch of sidewalk very slippery and in need of salt or gravel.
There are only three of the most common ways to prove slip and fall liability. A professional can help you determine the specifics of your case.
Snow and ice make this one of the most hazardous times of year. Be sure to keep yourself safe while going about your business this winter and beyond.