Who is responsible for an injury resulting from a slip and fall accident? Many thousands of people are injured each year -- some very seriously -- when they slip or trip and fall on a dangerous floor, a flight of stairs, or a rough patch of ground. Sometimes the property owner is responsible for the accident, and sometimes he or she is not.
If you have been injured in this way, first consider that it is a normal part of living for things to fall on or to drip onto a floor or the ground, and for smooth surfaces to become uneven. Also, some things put in the ground -- drainage grates, for example -- serve a useful purpose there. So a property owner (or occupier) cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is a property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we're going.
However, property owners do need to be careful in keeping up their property. While there is no precise way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip, cases turn on whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen -- and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing you fell on. Here are some general rules to help you decide whether someone else was at fault for your slip or trip and fall injury.
To be legally responsible for the injuries you suffered from slipping or tripping and falling on someone else's property, one of the following must be true:
- You must prove that worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface existed.
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the dangerous surface but done nothing about it.
- The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
What Is "Reasonable"?
In determining a property owner's "reasonableness," the law concentrates on whether the owner makes regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean. Here are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip or trip and fall injuries:
- If you tripped over a torn, broken, or bulging area of carpet, floor, or ground, or slipped on a wet or loose area, had the dangerous spot been there long enough that the owner should have known about it?
- Does the property owner have a regular procedure for examining and cleaning or repairing the premises? If so, what proof does the owner have of this regular maintenance?
- If you tripped over or slipped on an object someone had placed or left on or in the floor or ground, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be there?
- If there once had been a good reason for the object to be there but that reason no longer exists, could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe?
- Was there a safer place the object could have been located, or could it have been placed in a safer manner, without much greater inconvenience or expense to the property owner or operator?
- Could a simple barrier have been created or a warning been given to prevent people from slipping or tripping?
- Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?
If you have been injured, document all of your losses. These losses can include your medical bills, reasonable transportation costs related to the injuries, future medical treatment, lost wages, future loss of earnings, the effect on your family, and the effect on your life. Oftentimes, if you have experienced a serious injury, it will be necessary to retain the services of experts to prove these damages. This will require the representation of an experienced attorney. If you have been injured because of the negligence of another driver, then contact an experienced Texas Accident Attorney for a free consultation.
Kondos & Kondos has been active in the representation of accident victims for over thirty (30) years. We have helped thousands of people recover compensation for the injuries they suffered.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result slip and fall, please contact Kondos & Kondos today. Attorneys are available by phone, e-mail, or by clicking here.