Slip and fall accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence. When these accidents happen, it can be hard to know who, if anyone, is liable for resulting injuries that occur. Since each case is unique, connecting with a personal injury lawyer to review your case is the best route to take. However, when it comes to property owners, we’ve provided a general breakdown about when they may or may not be held liable for damages.
When Is a Property Owner Held Liable for Damages?
A property owner may be held liable for damages caused by a slip and fall accident in a number of premises in which a user’s safety is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier. This includes but is not limited to stores, restaurants, healthcare facilities, retirement residences, hospitals, parking lots, apartments, hotels, schools, factories and offices. The types of situations that may result in the property owner being held liable could include:
- - Failure to Maintain Property: This could include not cleaning up a spill in a reasonable amount of time, failing to salt/sand/remove ice in a walkway or driveway, or not cleaning up debris or objects that could pose a potential threat.
- - Poor Infrastructure: This could induce an uneven walking surface, inadequate lighting, or stairs/walkways that are not adequately maintained for regular usage.
- - Failing to Provide Hazard Alerts: This could include not having proper signs or warnings for certain hazards, or not warning users about the potential drowning risks.
When Is a Property Owner Not Held Liable for Damages?
While there are many instances where a property owner/occupier can be held liable for damages sustained as a result of a slip and fall accident, there are also some circumstances in which they may not be held liable. Some examples of these instances include:
- - Willingly Assuming Risk: If an individual willingly assumes the risks on the property, then the property owner may not be liable as long as they did not intentionally put someone in harm’s way or act with a reckless disregard for the safety of individuals on the property. A signed liability waiver is one example of willingly assuming the risks associated with a specific property, however, these waivers do not always eliminate responsibility to the property owner.
- - Criminal Intent and/or Trespassing: If an individual had the intent to commit criminal activity or is actively trespassing when they sustained a slip and fall injury, they might be assumed to have willingly assumed the risk that are on the property and therefore, have waived the responsibility of the property owner to assume liability for their injuries.
- - Personal Negligence: If an individual has sustained injuries as a result of their work as an independent contractor on a property, the property owner may not be held liable. This would be the case if the property owner had reasonable expectations that the independent contractor was competent and able to complete the contracted work.
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident the first step you should take is to seek out the proper medical assistance, if necessary. This ensures that your injuries can be tended to in an efficient manner. Once you have received proper medical treatment, consulting with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is a wise choice to ensure your rights are being protected. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help confirm that the notice requirements are met and that you are not reducing your chances of being eligible for compensation for damages.
If your fall is the result of snow and ice, very short and strict notice periods apply and it is critical that you speak to a lawyer right away to make sure that your rights are protected.
Beckett lawyers have extensive experience in the field of personal injury and slip and fall accidents, and we’re ready to help you through your unique case and fight for justice. If you're ready to take the next step, reach out to Beckett today or fill out our contact us form for a free case evaluation.
Published on July 13, 2022