Property owners, property caretakers and managers have a legal responsibility to maintain the property in a manner that would reasonably prevent the injury of those who enter it. Regrettably, not every property caretaker adheres to this responsibility, and when a hazard is not fixed in due time or a warning about the dangerous condition is not posted, unnecessary accidents occur.
One of the most common accidents that frequently occurs as a result of an unmaintained property is a slip and fall accident. Slip and fall accidents can cause a wide-variety of injuries that could range from mild to severe. When a slip and fall happens as a result of a property caretaker’s carelessness, the ability to pursue damages is possible.
Necessary Elements to Prove a Successful Personal Injury Claim After a Slip & Fall
By filing a premises liability claim in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident, an injured victim can seek compensation for his or her damages. The possibility of achieving a successful claim will depend on whether the following elements are established:
- Liability – The injured victim, referred to as the plaintiff, will need to demonstrate that the property caretaker, or defendant, had a legal responsibility to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner.
- Negligence – The plaintiff will need to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent in adhering to this responsibility and that an accident transpired as a result of this negligence.
- Fault – The plaintiff will need to assert that the defendant’s negligence in maintaining the property was a major factor in causing his or her injuries.”
Biren Law Group in Los Angeles states the following on their website: “When victims injured on another’s property bring claims against the property owner, they must prove 1) Legal Duty: The premises owner owed a duty of care to the victim; 2) Breach of Duty: The premises owner failed to meet their legal duty because they were negligent or committed some other wrongful act; and 3) Causation & Damages: As a result of the premises owner’s breach of duty, victims suffered actual damage (i.e. medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering).”
One of the key elements of a successful case is proving that the property owner or caretaker was negligent in maintaining the property in a manner that would reasonably prevent the injury of a person. Establishing negligence can be challenging, and it will require knowledge of local property building codes as well as premises liability laws. To prove negligence, a thorough investigation will be required, and the collection of the following evidence can help establish the property owner’s careless actions:
- Video surveillance of the property,
- Property maintenance logs,
- Witness testimony,
- Pictures of the scene, and
- Prior accident reports
Determining Fault in a Slip and Fall
Determining fault following a slip and fall accident can also be difficult, as the defense will likely attempt to place blame on the injured victim. For example, the State of California follows the theory of Comparative Fault, which examines the culpability of all parties involved in a premises liability matter. If a victim is found partially at-fault for the accident, the recoverable damages will be reduced by the percentage found responsible. For a defendant, placing blame on the victim can significantly reduce the amount of compensation owed to the victim. On the other hand, an injured plaintiff can still seek partial compensation even when he or she was responsible for the accident.
Obtain the Support of a Qualified Slip & Fall Attorney
As a result of the complex legal issues that arise in a slip and fall case, it is necessary to obtain the legal counsel of an experienced slip & fall injury attorney. A skilled attorney will dutifully investigate the case and provide support in establishing a strong case against the reckless property owner. Most attorneys like Kim Law (linked above) offer a free consultation regarding your slip & fall matter, and don’t charge you anything unless they ‘re successful in your matter.
How Much Does a Slip & Fall Attorney Cost?
Generally speaking, a slip & fall lawyer will charge you based on contingency. Their fee is contingent upon how much you receive from your compensation from the settlement or verdict in your slip & fall claim. The typical fee a personal injury lawyer charges is 33.3% of your award, but this varies from state to state, and also depends on the complexity of your matter and if your case settles out of court or goes to trial. You can find a personal injury lawyer by going to Lawyers.com, PersonalInjuryLaw.guru, Justia, or another reputable legal directory. Make sure to discuss the specific details of your case with a lawyer, and ask about their specific experience with slip & fall and premises liability matters.