Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. Sometimes, the person can simply dust themselves off and walk away. Other times, however, the person can be seriously injured.
Everyone has a responsibility to watch where they are walking and exercise reasonable caution. Still, even the most responsible person can fall because of someone else’s negligence. Thousands of Americans are injured each year in this type of accident.
As winter approaches, there’s no doubt that ice and snow will make surfaces much more slippery. Now is a good time to discuss the most frequently asked questions about slip and fall cases.
Does my fall “count”?
Slip and fall accidents happen everywhere: wet floors, slippery or dangerous stairs, an uneven patch of ground, etc. If you experienced such an accident, you might have a claim.
When bringing a slip and fall claim, we look at whether or not the property owner is legally liable for your injury. This means that one of three things has to be true:
- The property owner knew about the slippery or dangerous surface.
- The property owner must have known about the surface and didn’t repair it.
- The property owner should have known about the dangerous surface because a reasonable person would have found and repaired the surface.
That being said, your fall has to have happened at someone else’s property, and it has to have been the fault of the property owner. If the fall was your fault entirely, you will unfortunately not be able to bring a claim.
How do I know who is at fault?
As we said above, each person is responsible for looking where they walk. Still, some accidents can’t be avoided.
The property owner might be at fault in the following examples:
- You slipped and fell on a wet floor because there was no wet floor sign.
- You slipped on icy stairs or pavement by a business or housing complex because the owner did not put down salt.
- You fell because there was poor lighting and you could not see where you were going.
In the above hypothetical scenarios, the owner had a responsibility to maintain a safe environment at the property, and they failed to do so.
When bringing a slip and fall claim, the property owner will likely try to argue that you were at fault for the fall. This might be the case if you did the following, for example:
- There was a sign warning of a dangerous surface ahead, but you didn’t see it because you were texting.
- You were running, jumping, or acting in a irresponsible way that prevented you from seeing the dangerous area.
When determining fault, the court looks at what a “reasonable” person should have known and done. Since “reasonable” is subjective it helps to have a personal injury lawyer on your side arguing that you did everything you could to avoid an accident.
Who do I bring a claim against?
Knowing who is responsible is paramount in cases like these.
Let’s imagine, for example, that you slipped and fell on icy steps at a neighbor’s apartment complex. Your accident might be the fault of your neighbor; however, it is more likely the fault of the landlord or property owner. (It would depend on the lease and whether or not your neighbor is responsible for removing ice from the steps.) It might be the fault of a third party, like a snow removal company that didn’t do its job properly.
For slip and fall cases, it’s helpful to have the advice of an attorney to help you determine who was/is legally liable and should be named in your claim.
What is my case worth?
The facts of every case vary, and this influences how much the case is worth. But for general guideline’s sake, we can say that if your injuries are very minor (like a strained wrist), your case may not be worth very much. If, on the other hand, your injuries are more severe (like a broken leg), your case will be worth more.
By bringing a slip and fall claim, you may be able to recover the costs associated with your injury. These costs can include any medical expenses from the injury as well as wages you lost while recovering. The more you paid in medical bills and the more wages you lost, the more your case is worth.
We hope this FAQ answered at least a few of your questions. If you have fallen on someone else’s property and are injured, you probably have a lot more. You might be wondering if you have a case.
Contact Us Today
Call the slip and fall attorneys at Casper & Casper to discuss your options. We offer a free consultation, and our offices are located in Cincinnati, Dayton, Middletown, and Hamilton for your convenience.