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When is a Property Owner Liable For Slip and Fall Injuries?


Seeing someone trip and fall is sometimes used as a punch line in comedies, but in real life, it's nothing to laugh about. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere-a local grocery store, city pool, or even a neighbor's house. A number of factors can cause you to lose your footing, including a piece of carpet that has been torn off of the floor, a puddle of water that has accumulated after a rainstorm, or a shaky staircase that is in desperate need of repair. These hazardous conditions can cause a great deal of harm, and many victims suffer from soft tissue damage, broken bones, or spinal cord injuries after a slip and fall. If you are one of these unfortunate victims, can you hold the property owner liable for your injuries? In some cases, yes.

A property owner is not automatically held liable for every accident that occurs on their property. Certain elements must be proven if you want to recover compensation from a property owner, including:

  • The property owner had a legal obligation to ensure you and all other guests were safe on his property; and
  • The owner did not fulfill this legal obligation; and
  • You sustained injuries while on his property; and
  • The injuries were caused by his failure to maintain safe conditions on the property.

The property owner must have been aware of the unsafe condition in order to be held liable. For instance, if a property owner caused the hazardous condition by spilling a liquid on the floor and neglected to clean it up, he could be held liable. He may also be held liable if he watched as someone spilled a liquid on the floor, but did not take action to clean up the mess.

Of course, there are certain exceptions where a property owner can be held liable even if he did not know about the hazardous conditions. One of these exceptions is if the property owner was not aware of the condition, but you can prove a "reasonable" property owner would have been aware of it. For example, say part of the carpet in a small retail store begins to tear and creates a bump in the flooring that you trip on when you are there shopping. Even if the property owner argues he was not aware of the hazard, if you can prove the bump existed for months, and therefore a reasonable owner would have known about it, you may be entitled to compensation.

Proving negligence is very tricky in slip and fall case because it often comes down to arguing over what a "reasonable" property owner would have done in a similar situation. Because of the many complexities of these cases, you should never attempt to file a personal injury claim against a property owner without the help of a qualified attorney.

If you have injured yourself in a slip and fall accident and believe a property owner's negligence is to blame, contact James Rush right away. Slip and fall cases can be complicated, and you will need a skilled attorney who knows how to prove negligence and negotiate a fair settlement. Don't wait any longer-contact James Rush today by calling 415-897-4801 or submitting the online form on our website to arrange a free consultation.

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