What is Premises Liability?
Simply put, premises liability is a section of the law that allows victims who sustain injury to hold the negligent property owner liable.
If you fell and injured yourself due to a hazardous condition that a property owner knew about, or reasonably should have known about, and did nothing to fix, you may be entitled to compensation. These hazardous conditions could be:
- An unmarked wet floor in a grocery store
- A set of narrow stairs that cause you to trip and fall inside a two-story building
- A broken handrail
- Cracked pavement
- A torn carpet Poor lighting (e.g., can lead to both accidents and assaults)
What are some common slip and fall injuries?
Slip and fall injuries can lead to a number of serious conditions:
- A broken bone, likely in the arm or wrist as a result of trying to catch yourself while falling
- Head or traumatic brain injuries
- Hip or tailbone fractures
- Damage to your back, neck, or spinal cord
- Sprains or tears in your joints or tendons
Whether you are young or old, a slip and fall can have devastating impacts. Because of that, you should never try to fight a premises liability case on your own.
The dedicated team of personal injury attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett can help you prove your claim through key pieces of evidence.
How do I prove liability in a slip and fall case?
Proving fault in a slip and fall accident requires you to prove several key pieces of information in regards to the property where you experienced your injury.
Presence of Dangerous Condition
The first thing you must be able to prove is that an actual dangerous condition was the cause of your slip and fall.
You can prove the existence through video surveillance, photos, and eyewitness testimony.
The Property Owner Created or Knew About the Hazardous Condition
The next thing you will need to prove in your premises liability case is that an employee, property owner, or manager:
- Created the hazardous condition, or
- Knew or should have known about the hazard, and
- Failed to correct it or make it known
For example, if a store owner sees that the air conditioner vent is leaking and neglects to clean up the spill or place a wet floor sign by the spill, he or she may be liable if a customer injuries his or herself.
Note: How long the hazard was there may have an effect on your ability to recover compensation. For example, if a server spills water and then walks away to grab a wet floor sign and you slip and fall, the restaurant is likely not liable because it did not have adequate time to remedy the hazard.
Causation of Your Injuries
You must also prove that the hazardous condition was the cause of your injury.
Simply proving that an unsafe condition existed, or even that a property manager or owner knew about it, is not enough to make your premises liability case successful.
For you to get the compensation you deserve, you must be able to prove that your injuries were directly related to the accident.
After you establish causation, you must prove that you sustained actual damages, such as medical bills or lost wages.
What evidence do I need to provide?
Collecting the appropriate evidence is crucial to making your personal injury lawsuit hold weight.
Pictures and Video Evidence
One of the best types of evidence you can collect at the time the accident occurs are pictures of the property. Make sure you document any uneven floors or other unsafe conditions that caused you to fall and hurt yourself.
Video evidence will also be crucial to proving your case. With video footage, you can show exactly how the accident happened and may be able to prove the owner knew about the hazard and did nothing to correct it.
If another customer saw your accident, he or she can testify as to how the accident occurred as well as whether or not there was anything to alert customers to the hazard (e.g., wet floor sign, etc.).
Documentation of Your Injuries
Other evidence that can help your premises liability case includes documentation of your injury, such as medical records.
It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to prove the owner or manager is liable for your injuries.
Because of this, it is essential that you get the right personal injury attorney to help you in the evidence-collection process.
Is there anything else I need to know about recovering compensation?
It is important to note that your actions at the time of the accident may factor into how much compensation you are able to recover. For example, if you were texting at the time of the accident and did not see the hazard, the insurer or jury may award you a lower amount. This is true even if it clear that the owner ignored the hazard.
You must also remember that to be eligible to recover any compensation at all, you must file a claim within two years of your injury. These time periods may be longer for minors under 18 years old and persons under a disability. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine the applicable statute of limitations.