Slip, trip and fall law is a bit of an odd duck legally speaking, as it deals with a landowner maintaining property in a safe manner. Where the difficulty comes into play in proving this type of a lawsuit is what constitutes negligence on the part of the property owner.
Various conditions could lead to a slip, trip, fall accident such as broken stairs, wet surfaces, icy and snow packed areas, cracked pavement or even bad lighting. The key here is whether the owner knew about these things and then did nothing to correct them. In other words, if the landowner did nothing to fix the hazards, s/he may be found negligent and thus at fault for another’s injuries.
If you have any doubts about whether or not you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, speak to a competent attorney who will be able to assess your case. Not all instances of slipping, tripping or falling qualify to be taken to court. Ask first before assuming an outcome that may not happen.
If there is negligence involved, you more than likely have a case, but your lawyer must make sure the negligence is indeed proven. What has to happen is the landowner must be shown to have failed to follow certain basic rules of safety, and that by not doing so caused your injuries.
While this may sound simple enough on the surface, the next step is what you were doing on the defendant’s property – meaning if you were there are a trespasser, licensee or an invitee. What you are determines the defendant’s liability to you.
If you were invited on the property, a landowner’s duty to you is higher and the premises must be safe and regularly inspected. Examples of invitees are shopping malls, restaurants, etc. If it is shown the landowner took all reasonable precautions to avoid injury, then the success of such a case would be dismal.
A licensee is a person who enters a property with the permission of the owner for his or her own benefit, not the property owners. The landowner here must give fair warning of known hazards. In this situation the landowner doesn’t have to inspect or fix defects but does carry the responsibility to inform you.
If you’re trespassing, the owner is not liable for injuries incurred since s/he was not aware of the trespasser.
As you see, there are a variety of things that need to be addressed before a successful lawsuit may be filed for a slip, trip or fall injury. The best thing to do is speak to a competent attorney about the details of your possible claim.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.