You are walking through a store, looking at the different products you may have an interest in purchasing. Before you know it, you take one step in a puddle of water, slip and fall and injure yourself. Looking around, you don’t see any warning signs or any employee’s cleaning up the mess, but you do notice a leaking pipe dripping water into the isle. Who is responsible for this?
Sometimes, the accident was our fault, but what about when it’s not? Speaking as soon as possible to your local slip and fall lawyer is a great step to help determine liability. It can be difficult to determine who is liable. In most cases, the jury would look to see if the property owner acted diligently to keep his customers safe or not.
Having an understanding of some general rules can help you stay safe, know exactly what to do in case of an injury, and ultimately, find out if you have a premises liability case in your hands.
But First. How Do We Determine Liability?
In order to be considered legally responsible for someone’s slip and fall injuries on someone else’s property a few things must be true:
- An employee or the owner of the of the premises must have been aware of the dangerous area and did nothing about it.
- The owner or the employee should have been aware of the dangerous area because anyone who is acting “carefully”, would have seen the area and either walled it off, removed it or repaired the dangerous area.
- The spill or broken surface must have been caused by an employee or the owner of the premises themselves.
So, What is “Acting Carefully?”
In a nutshell, the judges and jury work together to find if the owner of the premises acted carefully and was proactive towards maintaining their property and keeping it safe. If the owner is obviously neglectful about his duties the decision is simple. Here are some simple questions you can ask to figure out if the owner is liable for your injuries:
- Was the puddle on the ground long enough that the owner should have known?
- Are there any steps in place to maintain the premises safety?
- Was there a safer place to put the object that caused the accident?
- Was the lighting poor enough to cause the accident?
- Was there even a good reason for the object to be there in the first place? If there was at one point, why wasn’t it removed and put away?
If you respond with “yes” more than you think, the odds are you may have a slip and fall accident claim in your hands. Before jumping into a claim, ask yourself if you were at fault for your fall. Sometimes our own lack of attention could be our greatest demise.
Was I Acting Irresponsible?
The rules of “comparative negligence” come into play when figuring out for yourself if it was your fault or the owner of the property. An insurance adjuster will most definitely ask you questions along the lines of:
- At the time of the accident. We’re you doing anything distracting or anything that would have caused you to divert your attention from what you were doing?
- Were there any signs placed on display to warn passer byers?
- Would someone who was extra careful notice the dangerous area that caused you to slip and fall?
- Did you have a reason to be in the area where the accident occurred?
At the end of the day. Your safety is what’s important. For any concerns, you may have or questions, it’s always best to speak to a legal professional about what do to do next. Stay safe and watch out for where you are walking!
Sometimes accidents happen. The big question is, “is it the owners fault or was I being careless?” Call the Law Offices of Howard Kitay to learn more about how to determine if you may have a potential slip and fall claim.