Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident can lead to serious injuries. When a slip and fall accident is caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, they can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. The burden of proof falls on the injured victim in this type of lawsuit, so consultation with an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer can ensure that victims recover the maximum amount of compensation available.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident
To prove that a property owner was negligent and therefore responsible for the injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident, one of the following conditions must exist.
- The property owner or worker at the establishment where the slip and fall accident took place caused the condition that resulted in the accident, such as a spill that led to a wet floor, a torn carpet edge, or a broken handrail.
- The property owner or worker at the establishment knew the dangerous condition existed but failed to take action to correct it within a reasonable time.
- The property owner or worker failed to recognize the danger in the situation that a “reasonable” person should have known was dangerous and in need of correction. (“Reasonable” is defined as having common sense.)
The specific criteria for proving fault are clear, but actually providing evidence of the criteria can be difficult. In many cases, a judge will determine liability by reviewing the steps the property owner or worker took to avoid the slip and fall accident.
For example, if a person is injured by slipping or falling on a snow-covered walkway, the property owner would be negligent if they did not attempt to remove the snow in a reasonable amount of time. The plaintiff in this case would have to prove that a reasonable amount of time was available between the end of a storm and the time of the accident to remove the snow and avoid the slip and fall accident. If the injuries occurred because the victim fell on the snow-covered walkway during the storm or shortly thereafter, the defendant would most likely not be held liable for the injuries.
Insurance companies will often use comparative negligence to try and place fault on the injured victim by saying their own carelessness led to the slip and fall accident. To do this, the defendant must prove the following:
- The victim had no legitimate reason for being in the area where the accident happened.
- A “reasonable” person would have recognized the dangers associated with the location and avoided it entirely, or carefully maneuvered around it.
- The actions of the injured victim distracted their attention that led to the slip and fall accident.
Insurance companies are poised to fight slip and fall injury claims and have large legal teams at their disposal. Seeking the counsel and representation of an experienced slip and fall lawyer can ensure the victim’s legal rights are protected, and that they claim the maximum amount of compensation available.
Cherry Hill Slip and Fall Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Victims of Negligence
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, call the Cherry Hill slip and fall lawyers at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Haddonfield, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, South Jersey, and across the nation.