Every year, thousands of people are injured due to slips and falls, either in their own home or in a public place such as a car park, a public park, a supermarket or even in their own work place. Sometimes the victim simply blames the incident on his or her own carelessness rather than any slip and fall hazards. Hazards are such things as a torn carpet, a pothole in a sidewalk or on a crosswalk, damaged stairs or slippery floors.
In addition to the financial loss of medical costs and loss of wages, the person injured also has to bear the misery caused by the accident.
Property that is available for the public use must be maintained. It is either the responsibility of the owners, the lessee or a section of government. Public access property that must be maintained includes shops, offices, shopping malls, swimming pools, escalators and elevators.. There are certain situations when you, as the victim of a slip and fall personal injury, have the right to file for a personal injury claim. If the slip or fall is your fault, for example you were walking along looking at your cell phone rather than where you were going, your chances of making a claim are substantially reduced. You have to take some responsibility for your own actions. An example of where the person or business in control of publically accessed premises is responsible is where –
- The premises owner or a worker created the slip and fall hazard. This could including failing to fix a fault in the building that allows rainwater to come in and puddle on the floor.
- The premises owner or a worker failed to clear up a spill within a reasonable period, failed to put up signage to warn people of a current slip and fall hazard, or failed to repair the hazard in a reasonable period of time, such as a frayed carpeting.
- The premises owner was aware of the hazard but did nothing about it.
- The premises owner may think they have kept the property in reasonable shape and may have inspected any possible slip and fall risks but still should have known of the slip and fall hazard. Any average person in charge of the property or working in it or around it would have found and either eliminated the hazard or repaired it.
The most common scenario is the fourth one but situations are rarely clear-cut because of the wording “should have known.” Common sense often determines who was liable in these situations. When a personal injury compensation claim is filed the Judge and jury determine if the owner or other responsible person was careful enough in ensuring the property was maintained to a standard that would generally prevent a slip and fall incident.
What happens when a slip and fall personal injury claim reaches court?
Whether the defendant’s behavior was considered ‘reasonable’ has a big impact on the success of any claim filed alleging negligence of another party. The law focuses on whether the responsible person has made sufficient effort to ensure the property is clean and safe.
Certain situations for you to think about
- If your slip and fall was a result of a torn or ragged piece of carpet, a damaged and rutted floor, or slipping on a liquid. Key question – Was the hazard there long enough so that the owner, manager or worker should have been aware of it?
- Where your slip and fall took place. Key question – Did the property owner have a regular procedure for the cleaning or repairing of the premises and can he or she provide evidence of that the procedure was reasonable, and had been followed.
- If you happen to trip over or slip on an object a person must have placed on the floor or even in the ground. Key question – Was there a good reason for leaving such a hazard in such an unsafe place and could a warning notice or barrier have been erected to prevent accidents?
- Did broken or ineffective lighting help to cause the accident? Key question – Has the lighting been ineffective or broken long enough so that the owner, manager or worker should have been aware of it?
The answers to these sorts of questions have an impact on whether or not you are likely to win a personal injury claim. You should also remember that success in winning any lawsuit or personal injury claim will also be affected by who you hire as your attorney and whether or not they are an experienced personal injury lawyer.