From time to time, we all find ourselves walking and having an awkward moment where we might miss a step or two. The most crucial thing in that instance is to make sure you are not hurt during the fall. If the floor was slippery because it had just been cleaned with chemicals, then who pays for your medical expenses?
If you are hurt due to slip and fall in a restaurant, it can be essential to ask yourself if you were ‘negligent.’ Negligence is the legal term for not taking care. If you are found negligent, you will have to pay for your medical expenses and perhaps for other losses as well.
If someone slipped and fell on an object placed there or left there, such as a puddle or animal feces (the ‘object’ was not placed there on purpose), the person who had control over this object is responsible.
That means if you tripped and fell because someone left a shovel in the middle of your walking path, then that person is responsible for your medical costs and more. However, if somebody accidentally dropped a shovel and rolled it down the way, they are not accountable.
What about if you slip and fall on something that was left by someone who had no control over it? For example, if you slipped and fell on ice or snow that melted on a neighbor’s roof. If the neighbor cannot be found, then there is nobody to claim responsibility for your fall.
It is why it can be essential to keep an eye on who has the best view of the path you are taking when you go out.
If there was no ice or snow around, but you slipped and fell on a wet floor that was cleaned thoroughly with chemicals, then it is likely that the building owner has responsibility.
What are the challenges in determining liability?
A slip-and-fall accident can result in serious injuries. The legal process of determining liability can be complicated and frustrating.
Negligence is the primary claim in most slip-and-fall injury cases, though some states have specific laws on who is responsible for maintaining certain types of property.
For commercial property: The owner is responsible for maintaining the property safely unless they can prove that the person who fell was negligent.
For residential property: The house owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in front of their home but is not responsible for keeping other parts of their property’s exterior. The city or town may be accountable if it fails to take the proper actions to resolve a known problem.
If you do not know who is responsible for a sidewalk, contact your local government representative.
For government property: The government is responsible for maintaining the public property. It does not mean that the government will take complete responsibility in all slip-and-fall cases, but it can make it easier to win your case.
Typically, the property owner has one month from receiving notice of a potential slip-and-fall claim to correct the condition that caused the accident. It may be necessary to send an inspector to the property to identify the hazardous condition and assist in proving that it existed.