New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
When do Slip and Fall Accidents become a Personal Injury Case?
Posted on Oct 29, 2014 in Slip and Fall
Slipping or tripping on a wet or slippery floor, ground, or stairs is a common occurrence and has happened to everyone at some point of their lives. It is quite normal to have something trip on a particular surface and if you trip, you can’t always hold the owner of a property responsible for it. If you aren’t looking where you are going, there is a possibility that you might be at fault.
When Slip and Fall Accidents Lead to Liability
Establishing whether the owner of a property is responsible for you having tripped or fallen within the premises, is a gray area. There are no accurate parameters with which to judge this. Every case is determined by whether the owner acted cautiously to ensure that people were not likely to trip and fall, or if the person who tripped was negligent enough not to look where they were going. An owner or employee of an owner can be held responsible for injuries you might have suffered from tripping, slipping, or falling if:
- They might have caused the dangerous or slippery item or surface to be underfoot.
- They had knowledge about the dangerous material or slippery surface being underfoot but have not done anything about it.
- They should have known about the presence of the dangerous or slippery material on the stairs, floor, or ground because any “reasonable” person who was in charge of a property would have identified and amended such an issue.
While the third case is the most common, it is very difficult to prove what a person ‘should have known’ due to the ambiguity of the situation. Common sense often determines liability in these cases. The law assesses whether the steps that the owner or employee took in order to keep the property safe were adequate and reasonable.
How to Denote/Decide if You have a Case?
If you have been the victim of a slip and fall accident, there are a few things you need to ask in order to determine if the owner of the property may be held liable for your injuries.
- If you have tripped over a wet area or broken, torn or bulging area of a floor, carpet or ground, has the spot been there long enough for the owner to have known about it?
- If you slipped or tripped over an object that was left lying around, was there a reason for the object in question to have been there?
- If there was a reason for the object to be there, but that reason doesn’t apply anymore, could the object have been covered, removed or made safe?
- Could the object have been placed in a safer manner or relocated to a safer area?
- Could there have been a barrier constructed to prevent or warn people about the obstruction?
- Did insufficient lighting contribute to the slip and all?
A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your case from all angles and suggest the best course of action for your slip and fall accident case. This is their domain!