There are a few important things to consider if you've been contemplating filing a lawsuit for a slip-and-fall injury. The law is certainly open to interpretation in certain situations, and most accidents that involve a fall are best left to an attorney for those individuals pursuing legal action. One of the most important aspects of any fall is determining who was at fault and, more importantly, who is liable for any damages. This article outlines a few key components of fall accidents concerning how to determine liability.
The Three Aspects of Liability
The law stipulates that there are three criteria that ultimately dictate whether or not an individual will be held responsible for the injuries and damages that ensue from a fall accident.
- One reason an individual will be held liable for a fall is when he or she is directly responsible for the slippery conditions or protruding objects that led to the fall. In other words, if the puddle you slipped in was caused by someone who left a hose turned on, then he she would be responsible for covering the expenses associated with your injury.
- Another instance where damages and expenses related to your fall would be covered is when your fall was the result of some hazard on the premises that the owner failed to alert the public about. This could be anything from a recently mopped floor to loose gravel or even accumulating dust. If the owner was aware of the danger of such conditions but never posted public warnings, then any injuries or lost wages you suffered as a result of your fall would be the responsibility of the property owner.
- Finally, liability is also determined by examining whether or not a "reasonable person" would have been aware of such hazards on the premises. The term "reasonable" is generally analyzed in the context of whether or not the property owner performs regular and scheduled maintenance and upkeep to his or her property. However, "reasonableness" also takes into account issues such as whether or not the hazard in question, at one time or another, ever served a purpose. The courts will also consider whether a simple barrier might have thwarted your injury altogether, as well as the amount of time the hazard in question was left unattended or outright ignored.
Overall, liability is function of a number of different things, including the type and duration of the hazard that caused the fall, as well as whether the property owner acted in a "reasonable" manner when alerting the public to the danger. Whatever the circumstances, it is always best to leave such burdens to the expertise of an accident attorney like Hagelgans and Veronis who understands the law and can help demonstrate how your fall was in direct relation to hazardous conditions that you never should have to had to concern yourself with.