Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents
Property owners are responsible for keeping their property safe. Failure to do so may result in a premises liability case due to poor maintenance or repair. Cases related to slip and fall accidents may require a lawyer to prove the property owner is negligent.
To determine whether you have a claim for premises liability you must prove negligence. So, let’s look at the law at work when a slip and fall accident occurs.
Let’s assume someone falls on wooden steps leading to the back entrance of a home or business. One of the steps was not secured and came loose when stepped on, and this caused the fall.
Two major points have to be shown in addition to the law of negligence for a premises liability case:
- Defective Condition: The injured person needs to identify exactly what caused the fall. The cause of the fall must be from defect on the property. In our example, the improperly secured step is the defect that caused the fall.
- Notice: The property owner must have had notice of the defect, and then failed to correct the problem within a reasonable time.
The injured person must establish that the property owner either knew or should have known of the defect that caused the injury. In addition the property owner must fail to remedy the defect within a reasonable amount of time prior to the slip and fall accident.
A defect on a property is an unreasonably dangerous condition which poses an unreasonable risk of harm to people on the property. The determination about what poses an unreasonable risk of harm depends on the specific circumstances of each case.
How to Prove Defective Condition Notice Was Given
Notice may be established by documentation showing that the property owner was notified of the defective condition.
Witness testimony may establish the length of time a defect existed on the property or prove that the property owner knew about the defect before the slip and fall. In other situations, the defect itself may provide insight into the length of time it existed, thereby establishing that the property owner should have known about the problem.
If you live in a rented property, and know of a defective condition on the property, you should put your landlord on notice of the defect in writing. Keep a copy of the letter you send, and if possible, send the letter by certified and regular mail. Send the letter as soon as you become aware of any problem and ask for the problem to be fixed.
Do the defect and notice rules apply the fall happens on snow and ice?
These rules apply and more. Each state will have different rules regarding cases involving snow and ice. Some states require you to show that there was an unnatural accumulation of snow and ice before you may make a claim. Other states define what a reasonable time period is for a landowner to clear snow and ice after the last snow falls.
At the Haymond Law Firm we have the experience to take your slip and fall case to trial. Our mission is to communicate, counsel and enlighten our clients. Our goal is to achieve results. If you believe that you have been a victim of a defective condition on a property, please contact the Haymond Law Firm.