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Slip and fall accidents are not uncommon. Figuring out who is at fault can be. There are a lot of ways these accidents might occur. A pot hole in the sidewalk, a wet floor with no warning sign and any number of other things might be the cause.
There are two questions that need to be asked. The first question is which party is liable? Is it the fault of the person who fell or the property owner? Sometimes it’s a mixture of the two. The second question is was that person negligent? Could something have been done to prevent the fall? These difficult questions are usually the ones you will end up discussing with your local slip & fall injury attorney at length.
There are also two theories about these accidents when the property owner is deemed responsible. The first theory is that the property owner should have recognized that there was something dangerous. Knowing that the floor is wet and not leaving a sign up is a good example. However, the person who fell may have some liability. If it’s raining and someone walks into a store they should reasonably know that the floor is going to be wet and take proper precautions.
The second theory is that it was done by the property owner or someone in his or her employ. As an example a gardener leaving a rake across a sidewalk could cause a fall. So can sprinkler heads that don’t go down all of the way. Again, there has to be circumstances that would prevent a reasonable person from avoiding the problem. If the grass is high the sprinkler head may not be noticeable.
When trying to prove that the property owner or someone in their employ is at fault a lot of other things come into play. Was there sufficient time for the owner to notice and fix the problem? Going back to the rain most stores have mats that help prevent slipping in wet weather. They also have signs to put up warning of the water on the floor. If the rain had just started then the owner probably isn’t liable.
To prove liability it is also necessary to prove that the property owners and their employees regularly check the property for hazards. If they do then there should be some sort of log that shows whether or not they had done so prior to the accident. Proving liability is not a “do it yourself” kind of job. Google a top rated local injury lawyer and you should be fine.
Next, could the liability have been foreseen and action taken to prevent problems? Weather forecasts can usually give lead time before the rain starts. This would give the store owner time to put out the signs and the mats. Even if the promised rain doesn’t arrive they will have protected themselves from liability.
The last thing that needs to be proven is that the person injured didn’t, either accidentally or purposely cause the accident. During negotiations for settlements the injured party may end up being held partially liable. If the person filed the claim and is found to have fallen on purpose that person is then open for countersuit. If a police report was also filed that person could also find themselves in legal trouble.