Slip & Fall Attorney Debunks Common Myths
What do you know about slip and fall accidents and lawsuits? Most people aren’t very familiar with this area of the law (called “premises liability”)—that is, until a slip and fall accident happens to them.
As a result, there are quite a few myths floating around. Today, the slip and fall attorneys at Casper & Casper are going to debunk six of them.
Keep reading to find out the truth behind the myths!
Myth #1: There Was a Sign, So You Don’t Have a Case
This is one of the most common myths. However, the truth is that warning signs are not a “magic bullet” to protect against lawsuits. (This is the case whether the sign says “Wet Floor,” “Enter at Your Own Risk,” “Hazardous Conditions,” or something else.)
The property owner is responsible for making sure that the property is free of dangerous conditions likely to cause accidents. Such dangerous conditions include:
- Torn carpeting
- Changes in flooring levels
- Poor lighting
- Loose floorboards
- Broken stairs or stair railings
- Wet flooring
- Hidden extension cords or other trip hazards
- Aggressive dogs
- Unsecured swimming pools
Simply putting up a sign—especially if that sign is out of the way or otherwise unlikely to help a person avoid the dangerous condition—isn’t enough to shield the property owner from all legal liability.
Myth #2: It’s Always the Responsibility of the Property Owner
It’s important to know that just because you, say, fall in a restaurant, the restaurant property owner isn’t necessarily legally responsible.
In order to prove someone else was at fault for your injuries in a slip and fall lawsuit, one of the following things has to be true:
The property owner (or possessor) created the dangerous condition
The property owner knew the hazard was there and negligently failed to fix it
The dangerous condition existed for so long that the property owner should have discovered and fixed it
Unfortunately, if none of the above is true and your injuries were caused because of your own carelessness, the property owner could not be held legally or financially responsible. Some accidents are just that: accidents.
Myth #3: If the Property Owner Didn’t Know about the Hazard, They’re Off the Hook
Remember the third bullet point in myth #2? The law doesn’t let property owners off the hook just because they didn’t know about a dangerous condition.
Even if the property owner was actually unaware of the dangerous condition, they can still be liable if they reasonably should have known, then fixed it. For example, let’s say that a landlord fails to perform adequate maintenance on their property. If an accident happens and someone is injured, the landlord could be at fault. They should have known about the condition—and they would have, if they had done reasonable maintenance.
Myth #4: The Insurance Company Is There to Help
If you choose to file an insurance claim after your slip and fall, know that the insurance company is not on your side. Sure, the insurance company might seem friendly and cooperative. However, remember that their primary goal is to minimize the amount they pay out as much as possible.
The insurance company might give you a quick and straight-forward-seeming settlement, but such a settlement is often a low-ball offer. That’s because the insurance company knows that convincing you to accept an offer right away is the best way to pay the least amount possible—before you add up how much your injury is really costing you.
If you don’t accept the settlement, the insurance company may then make it as hard as possible for you to get the compensation you need. (That’s on purpose! They’re hoping you give up.)
Bottom line? The insurance company doesn’t work for you, and they don’t have your best interests at heart.
Myth #5: If You Slipped & Fell in Public, You Can’t Sue
Many people believe that, if you slip and fall in public—somewhere other than a private business or residence—you can’t file suit. That’s not true!
In fact, many parks and other outdoor spaces are owned and maintained by private companies. You can hold these companies responsible, just as you would a landlord or store owner. In addition, you can make a slip and fall claim against the government, if you slip and fall somewhere like a public sidewalk.
Myth #6: You Don’t Need a Slip & Fall Attorney
Slip and fall claims can be difficult to prove, especially on your own. And, as we mentioned above, dealing with the insurance company and property owner isn’t always easy.
To get the compensation you need after a slip and fall injury, it helps to have an experienced attorney on your side. A good slip and fall attorney will work to gather all the evidence needed to prove your claim, negotiate on your behalf, and get the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Casper & Casper is here to help. To talk to an experienced, dedicated Cincinnati slip and fall attorney, call us today.