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Personal Injury Areas of Practice: Slips and Falls

April 11, 2016 Hastings and Hastings

Welcome back to our four-part series on a few of the primary areas of practice in personal injury law. It is important to note that representation at Hastings & Hastings is by no means limited to these four specific areas of practice. Simply, these are four areas of practice in which we are often asked questions.

So far, we have gone over wrongful death lawsuits and car accidents. Sometimes, these areas of practice overlap. Wrongful deaths can be caused by car accidents, among many other things. Of course, accidents are always tragic. Accident victims need someone by their side. There is little you can do to prepare for an accident other than arming yourself with knowledge. To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits, click HERE. To learn more about why you need a lawyer following a car accident, click HERE.

Today, we will be learning about slip and fall accidents.

What is a Slip and Fall case?

A slip and fall case happens when someone experiences a slip or fall accident on private or public property and injures themselves. The owner of the private property, or the group/party/individual responsible for managing the public property have a duty to maintain the property and ensure it is safe.

Slip and fall cases are often divided into three major categories: slips on foreign surfaces, falls on stairs/ramps/elevated surfaces, slips/trips on floors or thresholds.

The type of slip and fall experienced by the individual will shape the case. Different types of accidents require different types of evidence.

Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall

To win a slip and fall case, we need to establish that the owner or manager of the property was liable for the accident. What does it mean to be liable? Liability means “the state of being held responsible for something, especially by law.”

To prove liability, we have to prove that the owner, proprietor or manager was in some way responsible for the slip and fall. Establishing liability often comes down to proving one of these two major ideas:

  1. The owner/manager should have been aware of and addressed hazardous conditions.

In this instance, the owner/manager should have been aware of a hazardous condition such as torn carpet, a broken banister, a worn surface, a cracked floorboard or anything else that could cause a slip, trip, or fall, and taken steps to address the situation.

  1. An owner/manager/employee cause the hazardous situation.

In this second situation, the responsible parties directly caused the hazardous situation. Often, this involved spilling something on the floor or failing to clean a spill, although there are many other causes.