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If You Slip and Fall, Who Is Responsible?

Tripping is embarrassing in most circumstances, but a slip and fall is not the result of clumsiness. If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should not be embarrassed to hold the person responsible for their inaction or actions.

What Is a Slip and Fall Case?

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A slip and fall case occurs when someone falls down and is injured because the store or business was negligent in the safety of its property.

You must prove two things:

  • Unsafe conditions existed
  • Negligence (the store or business failed to address those unsafe conditions in a reasonable way)

Unsafe Conditions

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Unsafe conditions exist anywhere and everywhere—that’s the world we live in. Sometimes, nothing can be done about them. But businesses and property owners are still required to warn customers about them.

Even something as typical as mopped or waxed floors can become dangerous, especially for elderly or disabled customers who may have difficulty navigating a slippery surface.

Businesses can’t control their conditions completely—snowy weather will likely lead to icy steps, for example—but they are required to make it as safe as possible for their clients.

Negligence

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In order to have a case, there have to be unsafe conditions and negligence.

You’ve probably seen a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign before. Maybe the business couldn’t do anything about its wet floor—perhaps a leak was in the process of being fixed—but they put up a sign so customers could take precautions when walking in or around that area.

If you fell down despite their warning, you might not have a case. Yes, there were unsafe conditions, but the business wasn’t negligent—the sign is an example of reasonable steps to warn of the issue.

Timing also comes into play with proving negligence. If there’s a freak snowstorm that causes the stairs to be icy and you arrive at the store before it even opens, don’t be surprised if the sidewalk isn’t salted to melt the ice. Stores and businesses can’t predict everything, and if a situation has only been unsafe for a few minutes, you probably won’t be able to argue that they were negligent.

Who Is Responsible?

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If the store owner owns the property on which you fell, it makes sense to hold them responsible. However, if the property owner and the store owner are two different people, you’ll have to examine your case more closely to see which person should be held accountable.

Holding the Landlord Responsible

Let’s say you have a meeting on the second floor of a building. You’re walking across the lobby when suddenly you slip and fall, injuring yourself severely. A pipe had been leaking from the ceiling, creating a wet floor.

Since the business you’re visiting is on the second floor, you wouldn’t hold them responsible. The landlord in charge of the building is required to keep the entire building safe—that is who you would hold responsible for your fall.

Holding the Business Responsible

Let’s say you’re at a restaurant and you go to use the bathroom. Unbeknownst to you, the bathroom floors have just been mopped. There are no signs indicating that the floors are wet. You take one step into the bathroom and slip and fall on the tiles.

In that case, the restaurant owner would be responsible for your fall. The landlord isn’t responsible for mopping the floors; it’s the restaurant owner who hires employees to clean floors and properly display if they are slippery or wet.

Help for Your Slip and Fall Case

Everyone has moments of clumsiness, but if you slip and fall due to someone else’s negligence, that’s not your fault. Business and property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for others and to properly warn customers if there are unsafe conditions. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation on your slip and fall case.