Trip-and-fall lawsuits involve at first a trip, where a person’s foot strikes an object on the ground or nearby, which results in a fall to the ground. One may have heard of a slip-and-fall lawsuit, where the incident involves a slip, as opposed to a trip.
Property owners are usually responsible for injuries that occur on their property, especially if the danger is not obvious but was known to the owner at the time of injury.
Dangerous conditions can result in trip and fall accidents, including:
- Torn carpeting;
- Changes in flooring;
- Nails or screws in the floor;
- Poor lighting;
- Narrow stairs;
- Cracked sidewalks; and/or
- Hidden hazards.
Dangerous conditions such as torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, wet floors, cracked sidewalks, or hidden hazards can cause slip and fall accidents.
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If you were injured due to a trip and fall incident, you may be able to sue the property owner. You will need to show some legal relationship with the person in charge of the property. It may be necessary to prove the person in charge had some legal duty to protect or warn against dangers.
In other cases, other parties can be held liable for a trip and fall incident. For instance, a city or municipality can sometimes be held liable for failing to repair dangerous conditions in public roads or parkways.
To bring a claim for injuries suffered from slipping or tripping on the property of another, you must prove one of the following:
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have caused premises to be unsafe.
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the unsafe premises failed to take measures to remedy the condition.
- The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the unsafe condition on the premises because a "reasonable" person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
An owner would be negligent if he or she did not exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises in a safe condition.
For the injured party, it is important to show that you were not careless in failing to avoid an injury. If the injured person somehow contributed to their own injury, they might have their damages reduced under contributory negligence laws or other legal restrictions.
An example of this is where a person sees that a dangerous area of the property is blocked off with a fence and a “Danger” sign. If they proceed to voluntarily enter the area, it could affect their damages if they sustain an injury.
The best way to avoid liability is to keep your property free from hazards. Regularly perform inspections for unsafe or hazardous conditions. When necessary, perform maintenance immediately. Also, it is important to make note if visitors or patrons point out dangerous areas of the property.
If you have been injured by a trip and fall you should contact a personal injury attorney who can evaluate the strength of your case. If you are being sued for liability for a trip and fall, you should speak with an attorney who can defend your case and provide you with representation.