When people are hurt in a slip and fall accident, the problem becomes determining who is at fault. Property owners cannot always be held accountable for immediately fixing a hazardous condition, especially if any ordinary person should be able to see and avoid it.
Slip and fall and premises liability cases hinge on whether property owners act responsibly in maintaining their property.
Proving Property Owner Liability
To charge a property owner with liability, it needs to be proved that: they or an employee of theirs caused the hazardous condition, the owner or employee knew about the hazard and did nothing about it, or the owner or employee should have reasonably known about the hazard.
Determining what a reasonable expectation of a property owner is can be tough to determine. Asking certain questions of the situation can help assess the property owner's liability.
Such questions include:
- Did the dangerous condition existed so long that the property owner should have known of it?
- Can the owner prove that they regularly examine or clean their property?
- Was there a legitimate reason for the object(s) to be on the floor or ground?
- Could the object have been made safe if it once served a purpose but no longer does?
- Could the object have been made safe without great inconvenience or expense for the owner?
- Could a simple barrier have been created or warning been given?
- Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?
You may have a good chance at a favorable outcome in a personal injury claim if you can answer one or more of these questions in the affirmative.
Protect Your Right to Damages
On the other hand, the defense will try and demonstrate that your own carelessness was to blame for your accident. They can ask their own questions of you in defending themselves and attempting to dodge legal responsibility.
Some of these questions can include:
- Did you have a good reason to be in the dangerous area?
- Were you not using caution and missed the obvious danger?
- Were there any warnings that the area may have been dangerous?
- Were you behaving carelessly such that a fall was likely to occur?
Carefully take these questions into account when describing what happened in your accident so as not to provide with an insurance adjustor with reasons to doubt the authenticity of your story.
If you were injured on another person's property, speak first with a Seattle personal injury attorney from Ward Smith, PLLC who can assess your case and determine how to proceed in recovering compensation for you.