A while back I slipped and fell outside a business. I broke my hip and suffered other injuries. I am still experiencing great pain. I have heard the term “slip and fall” and am wondering if I have a possible case.
The term “slip and fall” is often used to describe a certain class of personal injury cases and is the most common type of premises liability case. Just as it sounds, a slip and fall results from one slipping and falling as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition existing on someone else’s property.
Outside a building, a dangerous condition can result from any number of sources including ice, snow, or a pothole in the ground. A slip and fall also can result from a dangerous condition inside a building such as torn carpeting, poor lighting, or a wet floor.
Slip and fall cases are governed by negligence law. To win a premises liability case, an injured victim has to prove the defendant either caused the dangerous condition that resulted in the injury or that the defendant knew or should have known about the condition and failed to eliminate or repair it.
Sometimes negligence can be demonstrated by proving the defendant’s conduct was in violation of a law or ordinance.
Often it can be challenging to successfully pursue a premises liability case. The reason is it can prove challenging to show when a given hazard first occurred. However, this can be shown in a number of ways including looking at area surveillance videos or securing testimony from witnesses that previously saw or complained about the condition.
The law of comparative negligence also frequently plays a role in determining the success of a premises liability case. Comparative negligence refers to the extent to which the plaintiff is responsible for her own injuries.
A short example may help to illustrate the above principles. Suppose a man is walking outside a store when he slips and falls on a banana peel and sustains injuries. The banana peel obviously is the dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
The store would likely not be liable if the banana peel was only tossed on the ground seconds before the accident. This is so because the store had no opportunity to remove the banana peel.
Likewise, if the plaintiff was reading a newspaper and not paying attention to where he was going a jury may determine that he was partially at fault and thus proportionately reduce the amount he collects. This illustrates the concept of comparative negligence.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the statute of limitations, which is generally two years.
If a lawsuit is not filed in this period, it may be barred.
A personal injury attorney can help you assess your situation and determine if you have a viable case and advise you of the applicable filing deadline.