Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorney Van O'Steen

Slip and Fall Responsibility Hard to Prove

Van O'Steen

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Many people incorrectly believe that a person who is injured by a fall on someone else's property automatically is entitled to be compensated for the personal injury.

This is not what the law says.

The law does not require property owners, or their insurance companies, to pay every time an injury occurs.

"Slip-and-fall" is the term used within the legal system to describe this class of personal injury cases.  Lawyers generally consider these claims troublesome and difficult.

It often is hard for an injured person to show that a property or business owner was at fault for allowing a potentially hazardous condition to exist. For example, a green bean lying on the floor of a grocery store might have been dropped there by a store employee or another customer.

In most slip-and-fall accidents occurring in businesses, it becomes impossible to determine who was responsible for creating the condition that caused the accident. It is just as difficult to prove that the owner knew, or should have known, the condition existed.

Generally, a business owner will be held accountable for the acts of his or her employees. In more limited situations, the owner may be responsible for the acts of other customers.

But even if the owner clearly created the hazardous condition, an injured person can lose his claim if it can be shown that he was not adequately alert to possible dangers and did not, therefore, reasonably avoid them.

The law requires that we all play a role in insuring our own safety and freedom from injury.

In those cases where it is determined who was responsible for creating the hazardous situation, a business owner still may be held liable if he or she does not take reasonable steps to prevent, inspect for and remove possibly harmful conditions.

Businesses that sell food products and beverages probably are at the greatest risk of having customers injured by slipping and falling. Owners and managers of grocery stores, restaurants and bars should take special precautions to keep their floors as free of debris and spills as possible.

If we all remain alert to the potential hazards around us—owners and customers alike—we can greatly minimize the number of injuries caused by accidents and falls.