Any type of fall can result in catastrophic back, neck, and spinal injuries. Sadly, many such accidents are caused by the carelessness or inattentiveness on the part the part of the victim. Rather, they occur due to the actions or negligence of the property owners.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were more than 28 million emergency room visits due to unintentional injuries in 2014—the most recent year for which full statistics are available. Many of these were slip and fall accidents which can incur hefty medical bills and thousands of dollars in lost wages for injured victims. It is important to note, however, that if you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, the owner or occupier of the property may be liable for your injuries and the resulting expenses.
Liability for a slip and fall accident may fall on the owner of the property on which the accident occurred if:
- The property owner or a staff member employed by the owner caused a spill, created the dangerous surface, or placed the item that caused the incident;
- The property owner or a staff member knew about a dangerous condition that existed and did nothing to remedy the situation or to warn others of the danger; or
- The property owner or a staff member should have been aware of the hazardous surface because a “reasonable” person would have noticed and repaired or removed it.
What Does “Reasonable” Mean?
In most slip and fall cases, injured victims accuse property owners of not taking reasonable steps to ensure the premises were safe. The judge and jury will then be required to determine whether a reasonable person would have acted in the same manner as the property owner. There are many factors that may contribute to the court’s determination of what “reasonable” means in a given case, including:
- How long the hazard existed before the victim was injured. If the condition existed for an extended period of time, the court may find that the owner reasonably should have known about it;
- Whether the hazard was the result of an object that had fallen or had been placed intentionally. For example, a jar may fall and break in a grocery store, creating a slippery floor on which you could fall. Such a condition may be treated differently than if you tripped over broom left leaning against a shelf by a negligent worker; and
- Cleaning, maintenance, and safety protocols of the property in question. If the property is only inspected for dangers every few days, despite hundreds of daily visitors, a property owner may be found negligent.
If the property owner is found to have been negligent, he or she may be responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, disability, and even your pain and suffering. To learn more about your options for collecting compensation after a slip and fall accident, contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney. Call [[phone1]] for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today.