Not every injury caused by a slip and fall is going to be the fault of a property owner. Nor will it mean that an injured person can file a claim for damages. If pursuing a premises liability claim after a slip and fall, consider the three ways in which liability of a property owner might be established.
Property Owner Should Have Known of Dangerous Condition
A property owner may be liable for injuries if there was a dangerous condition of which he or she should have been aware. This is based on reasonable expectations of an owner. This can be challenging to prove, though, because there are some conditions that wouldn’t be reasonable to expect.
An example of when it might be considered reasonable to expect a property owner to know of a hazard would be when a rainstorm is followed by freezing temperatures, which is likely to result in slippery conditions, such as icy sidewalks or steps. It would be reasonable to expect an owner to know of these conditions in this case, and should prevent use of the icy walkway.
Property Owner Did Not Fix Hazard Despite Knowledge of It
A second way that liability could be proven is that a dangerous condition existed, the owner knew about it, yet did nothing to correct it. This might require evidence of property owner negligence, such as testimony from others who can validate the owner’s knowledge of the hazard.
For instance, if the railing on a balcony is loose, the owner knows but doesn’t fix it, and allows others to use it, he or she might be considered negligent. If neighbors or employees have spoken to the owner about the railing or if reports have been filed, it may indicate the owner’s knowledge.
Property Owner Caused the Hazard
A final way that liability might be proven is that the owner caused the dangerous condition. Let’s say he or she spilled something on the floor and, in addition to not cleaning the spill, failed to put up barricades or warning signs about the slippery conditions. Video surveillance, witness testimony, or even property owner records may be used to demonstrate that the owner caused the conditions.
In addition to proving liability, when someone has been injured on another person’s property, it needs to be determined what type of claim will be filed. One option is to file a slip and fall claim with the homeowner’s liability insurance. Talking to an attorney can help determine the legal options available.