In everyday life, accidents do occur. Injuries happen as a result of these accidents. However, after experiencing an accident and getting injured as a result, is there a legal remedy for the victim? The answer is in the affirmative if the accident was caused by something or someone. Therefore, who bears the liability?
First, key liability questions arise as to who really can be held liable for the accident. We need to ask ourselves;
- Who are the parties potentially liable?
- Were those parties actually negligent? This can either be through acting or them failing to act to prevent the occurrence of the accident.
In order to prove liability, the Plaintiff, (the one presenting the claim) must prove to the court that;
The defendant, (who in this case can be the property owner or his employee), knew of the dangerous state of the property but failed to address it. He or she should have been able to reasonably foresee that the state of the property posed a danger to the society or the people in interaction with the property. Also, that they had ample time to remove it before the accident occurred but they failed to do so.
The property owner or the employee of the defendant actually caused the dangerous condition leading to the slip and fall. This could be by leaving the hazardous obstacle in the way making it reasonable foreseeable that someone could trip and fall in the event.
The burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. He needs to show negligence on the part of the defender. This can be shown if the defendant failed to have acted as a reasonable or prudent person would have under similar circumstances similar to those leading up to the slip and fall accident.
The plaintiff in showing negligence on the part of the defender, he must assess:
- Whether the hazardous condition or the dangerous property existed long enough that a reasonable property owner would have taken steps to have the hazard eliminated.
- Whether the defendant had a routine of checking hazards on the property. If so, were records of whether the procedure was followed taken before the occurrence of the accident?
III. Whether there was a justification for the existence of the hazard. Did it still exist at the time of the accident?
- Could the dangerous condition have been mitigated through preventive measures? These could be warning signs placed out in the open for people to see and take caution, relocating the obstacle to a place not frequented by people or even barring access to the site.
- Was there poor lighting such that a reasonable person could not have known the existence of imminent danger?
In summary, slip and fall injuries could include but are not limited to, fractures, shoulder injuries, head injuries, back and spine injuries. Hazards that cause these accidents could be slippery floors, spills, clutters, uneven surfaces, open holes and insufficient lighting. For more elaboration, click here. Once the plaintiff proves that the dangerous property existed, the defendant knew or ought to have known and had reasonable time to address the hazard but failed to act and therefore as a result, the plaintiff suffered injury, he can then demand to be compensated for the inconvenience suffered.