Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
Most people have slipped or tripped and fallen at some point in their lives. These accidents can range from a minor embarrassment to something that causes severe and life-altering injuries. Occasionally, a slip and fall accident will occur on another person’s property. If this happens due to the carelessness or negligence of the property owner, renter, or manager, you might have a claim for damages.
Just because an accident takes place on someone else’s property, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a viable lawsuit. To have a legitimate case, you must be able to prove the four elements of Duty, Notice, Dangerous Condition, and Damages. When it comes to slip and fall cases, it’s helpful to be armed with the facts.
In the simplest terms, duty refers to an owner or occupier of a property having a responsibility to keep that property maintained. They must use reasonable means to address any conditions with the potential to cause harm.
The duty owed to certain people can depend on their status as a visitor on the property. As a visitor, you would fall into one of three categories: an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. The highest duty is owed to invitees and the lowest to trespassers. There may be exceptions and other nuances which are best discussed with your personal injury attorney.
Notice is one of the more important elements to a premises liability case. This refers to the fact that the property owner or occupier either knew or should have reasonably known about a hazardous condition that could harm someone on their property.
In some cases, the defendant clearly knew about the hazard and chose not to do anything about it. In others, it can be shown that a failure to conduct regular maintenance or inspections was a sign of negligence.
This may seem obvious, but there must have been a dangerous condition that either caused or contributed to the slip and fall accident. Even if you know that it existed, you will need to provide proof, which could be a tall order.
In proving the existence of the condition, you will have to show that it was significant and not a “minor defect” or normal wear and tear. You will also have to show that the premises or area was being used as intended.
Finally, you will have to prove that the injuries sustained were the result of and consistent with the hazard present on the property. In some cases, pain and discomfort may not materialize until later, which can create questions about the legitimacy of a claim.
This is one of the reasons why it is vital to seek medical care as soon as possible after a fall. Your well-being is essential as is documenting the cause and nature of your injuries.
Did You Contribute?
You may have a legitimate slip and fall case and still face pushback from the property owner or their insurance company. It’s not uncommon for the plaintiff in these cases to allege that the accident victim played some role in causing their accident.
Since Kentucky is a comparative fault state, these tactics could reduce the amount of damages that you receive in a slip and fall case. If a plaintiff is able to show that you were 50% at fault by walking through water and staring at your cell phone, your award for damages could be cut in half. This is another reason why it is vital that you speak with an experienced premises liability attorney about your situation.
Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident? Speak with a Louisville Accident Attorney
Many slip and fall accident victims are unsure whether they have a case or need an attorney to get the settlement they deserve. In short, the Kentucky accident attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates can provide valuable assistance in several ways. We will investigate your case to identify the responsible parties, handle the complex claim filing paperwork and deal with insurance companies on your behalf, and keep you advised of the status of your case in easy to understand language.
The injuries and damages from a slip and fall can add up, and you shouldn’t have to pay these costs if you weren’t responsible for the accident. Contact our Louisville office at 502-895-2626 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.