You slipped and fell on someone else’s property and experienced injuries. Can you recover money for that? Maybe – find out the truth from Mullen & Mullen.
Slip-and-falls get some negative publicity and some positive publicity. Some people lie or distort the facts, while most have completely legitimate cases.
And just because you fell, that doesn’t necessarily mean the property owner is automatically at fault for your injuries.
Let’s go through some of the details of slip and fall cases:
- First, An Unsafe Condition Must Be Present
For example, these situations would present “unsafe conditions:”
- The unnatural accumulation of snow and ice on a sidewalk (for example, if a property owner left sprinklers on despite the fact temperatures were below freezing)
- Wet and slippery floors in a grocery store
- A sidewalk that’s badly damaged
- A sidewalk or ramp that has an unsafe elevation change or steps that have varying heights
Whoever owns the property must also be responsible for the unsafe condition, or they must allow it to persist. And property owners aren’t required to make their property perfectly safe. They must only make their property reasonably safe.
Say, for example, that the management company for an apartment complex puts down some salt on the community sidewalk after a snowstorm.
You take your 90-year-old grandmother to their property, and she slips and falls down. Most likely, you won’t have a claim because the property owner did everything in their power to make their property reasonably safe. In addition, the snow and ice resulted from natural conditions.
- The Property Owner Must Have Notice
Property owners aren’t responsible for dangerous conditions they don’t know about. The law grants them a reasonable amount of time to find dangerous conditions and fix them appropriately. To establish liability and win this type of case it must be established the property owner had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition or should have discovered the dangerous condition.
Let’s go back to the scenario where the apartment complex leaves the sprinklers on despite below freezing temperatures. In that fact pattern the property owner created the dangerous condition and, therefore, actual knowledge of the dangerous condition can be presumed. Now let’s look at a different scenario. You and your grandmother walk into Wal-Mart and purchase some items. As you are starting to leave the checkout line your grandmother slips and falls in a puddle the size of a large pizza. Multiple ice cubes are located near the puddle and a trail of water leads to same. In this fact pattern it can be argued that Wal-Mart should have discovered the dangerous condition (water on the ground) because it was in an area where at least one employee was in close proximity (the cashier), the puddle was a large size, and it would have taken time for the ice to melt and create a puddle of that size.
- Were You Warned of the Dangerous Condition?
When a property owner knows of a dangerous condition, they must remedy it immediately. If they can’t for some reason, they must give you notice. A sign, ropes, or orange cones can serve as adequate warnings.
- What’s Your Responsibility?
If the dangerous condition on a property is “open and obvious,” you could bear some responsibility for your injuries and – depending on your status on the property – be barred from recovery. Other times your recovery will simply be reduced by your percentage of fault.
So, you can’t take your grandmother to an area of a business that’s obviously under construction, walk her through it, and score her a big payday when she gets injured. In that scenario you and your grandmother would be deemed trespassers.
Regardless of whose property you slipped and fell on, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
Judges and juries view slip and fall victims who act fast as being more credible, so you’re more likely to win and recover compensation if you act quickly.