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Is somebody liable for your slip-and-fall injuries?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2020 | Firm News |

Some people don’t think of injuries that arise from slip-and-fall incidents to be that serious. While a twisted ankle or scraped knee may indeed be minor annoyances from which most can quickly recover, not all injuries from slip-and-falls are that superficial or easily resolved.

In fact, tripping, slipping and falling can cause victims to break bones, slip discs and require surgeries and extensive rehabilitative therapies. Some might suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and never be the same as they were before their accidents. Below are some things for Belleville residents to understand about slip-and-fall injuries.

They often turn into premises liability claims

Just because a visitor or patron falls down on the premises of a private home or a business does not necessarily mean that they have a valid claim against the owner for premises liability. A person could faint, fall down and strike their head and suffer a TBI in the grocery store. But that doesn’t mean the store was liable for the injuries that they suffered as a result.

However, if that same individual stepped in a spilled substance on the floor and slipped and hit their head on the floor and got a brain injury, the liability should be fairly clear.

What leads to these claims for damages?

Dangerous conditions may include all of the following:

  • Spilled liquids
  • Uneven flooring
  • Lack of railings
  • Torn carpeting
  • Parking lot potholes
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Wobbly or too-narrow stairs
  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Failure to mitigate weather events, e.g., ice and snow removal

Proving liability is the crux of a case

The key to recovering financial damages in a premises liability case is being able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known that a dangerous condition that could harm someone existed and failed to take any action to mitigate it.

Here are two hypothetical scenarios that could play out very differently in court. Suppose a child dropped an ice cream cone in a grocery store aisle. Before any store personnel could spot and mop up the mess, a shopper turned the corner of the aisle by the endcap and slipped down in the mess.

Could the store have prevented the shopper’s torn ACL from the slip-and-fall? It’s debatable, especially if they could prove an employee was headed that way with a mop and bucket at the moment of the accident.

But suppose the same hypothetical shopper slipped and fell down in some liquid leaking out of a stand-up freezer. Attorneys for plaintiff would have a much stronger case that the defendant and store owner should have known about and yet failed to repair the defective cooler.

Learn more about the law

Think you have a viable premises liability case? Seek guidance to learn whether or not the law is on your side when pursuing compensation after a slip-and-fall accident.