When you have fallen in an accident, the facts matter when you are seeking recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. The mere fact that you have fell and been injured is not enough to result in financial compensation to pay the damages that you have suffered.
What happened is important because you will need to prove that someone was negligent for you to get money.
The Property Owner’s Negligence Can Cause Serious Injury
If you are wondering what the common cause of slip is and fall accidents, there are a number of different ways and places that people may fall that could cause them to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The second that you enter someone else’s property as a personal or business licensees, they owe you a duty of care to provide you with safety. To an extent, businesses must even show some care to an uninvited licensee.
Any type of dangerous condition can open someone up to potential liability as a defendant in a civil lawsuit if they have not used reasonable care.
Types of Cases that Cause Risk of Slip
Hypothetically, let’s say that you are a customer shopping at a store. Their potential liability begins the moment that you pull your car into their parking lot. There are a number of different flashpoints that can cause you to fall at their business establishment. Here are some ways that a business can be liable:
- You trip on uneven surfaces in the parking lot or on the sidewalk in front of the store.
- Wet floors after having been washed or a spill creates a dangerous situation.
- There is an obstruction blocking an aisle at the grocery store and it causes you to trip.
Work areas are cluttered or have things in common areas
- The parking lot or the area in front of the store has not been properly cleared of snow or ice after a storm.
What a Property Owner Must do on Private Property or Commercial Property
Even when you are on someone’s private property, they owe you a duty of care. First of all, they are obligated to keep the sidewalk in front of their home in reasonable condition.
When there is snow or ice, they are legally obligated to clear it as soon as possible so people do not slip on their sidewalk. They are legally responsible for the walkway in front of their home.
Once they invite you on to their property, they become liable for any type of accident where they were negligent. This could mean that you fall anyplace on their sidewalk, their porch or inside their home. They must keep their property free of hazards that can injure you if they hold their home open to guests.
Proving that the Landowner or Business Owner Is to Blame for the Fall Injury
Just because you have fallen on someone’s property does not automatically mean that they will be liable. In other words, the mere fact of a fall and nothing more is not enough to prove that you deserve financial compensation.
In order to qualify for an insurance settlement or money in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the other party was negligent. In any type of negligence case, there are four different things that must be proved:
- The defendant owed the injured party the duty of care.
- The defendant breached the duty of care by not acting as a reasonable property owner would in addressing the hazardous condition.
- The plaintiff suffered some sort of injury.
- The defendant’s actions or omissions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Considerations for Your Fall Claim
Negligence is not something that is assumed in a slip-and-fall case. As a plaintiff, you must prove each and every single element of the case in order to recover under the reasonable person standard.
One consideration that will be very important in your slip-and-fall case will be whether the defendant’s conduct was unreasonable. The reasonableness standard is judged against what any property owner would do under the same circumstances in order to determine legal responsibility. Here are some examples:
- If the plaintiff slipped on some ice right when it started snowing, it may not be unreasonable because the dangerous conditions only lasted for a little bit of time. In other words, the property owner is not required to clear a dangerous condition the instant that it materializes.
- Some property conditions are unavoidable. For example, a property could have a dangerous area that occurs naturally and is not a safe condition. Here, the question would be whether the property owner prevented access to the area of did enough to warn people on the property of the dangerous condition. It may not be possible to prevent all danger. The issue is more how the property owner dealt with the danger when they had actual knowledge of the problem.
- A reasonable property owner would likely routinely check for dangerous property conditions. For instance, a store owner would have employees walking around the store checking that the floors were not wet and that there were no obstructions in the way of customers walking freely throughout the store.
Common Injuries in the Fall Incident
Many people think of slip and fall cases as a garden variety injury. However, many of these injuries are severe and can result in emergency room visits and medical costs. Some of the injuries that you can suffer include:
- Spinal cord injury
- Hip fracture
- Brain Injury
- Broken Bones
Sometimes When a Person Slips, They May not Have a Personal Injury Case
In many cases, the plaintiff will also need to show that their actions were not the cause of their own injury. The same comparative negligence test that applies is a car accident case also is used in every personal injury legal action. Here are some examples of things that plaintiffs can do that could disqualify them from recovering for their injuries:
- Running down the aisles of a store increases the chances that a person can be injured and could miss that there was something on the floor.
- Straying off the beaten path of someone’s property means setting oneself up for injury.
- You were looking at your phone at the time you fell.
Sometimes, just not using common sense is enough to be your own negligence
In these cases, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff contributed to their own injuries. In Illinois, a plaintiff can recover for their injuries as long as they were not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
What You Need to Give Your Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Insurance Claim or Legal Matter
If you think that you could have a slip-and-fall legal case, the most important thing that you can do is document the scene of the injury. While we understand that it is hard to take pictures at the immediate time of the accident when you are injured, make sure to get pictures of the site as close as you can to the time that the incident happened.
If there were witnesses, find the best way to get their contact information and talk to them about what they saw.
As a plaintiff, the obligation is on you to prove that you have been injured in a slip-and-fall due to the negligence of the owner of the property. This is why you need to hire a personal injury law firm.
Your fall lawyer can apply the principles of premises liability law to help get you a settlement for medical costs and any other medical bills as well as pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC today for your free consultation.