Have you suffered a damaging fall on someone else's property? Whether it's a friend's house, someone's wedding, or your local grocery store, the property owner may be liable for your injuries. But not all slip and fall cases are the responsibility of the property owner. To help you win your case and the best compensation you can, here's what you need to know about the three major ways they can be held liable.
1. The Owner Created the Hazard
The most direct line between your injury and a property owner is drawn when they actually had a hand in creating the problem. If the grocery store was mopping around customers but failed to warn them, it created the hazard that injured you.
As an invitee, the customer is owed the strongest duty of care. However, even if you weren't authorized to be there, the store cannot intentionally create a harmful hazard for you. In general, courts refrain from rewarding a property owner for committing malicious injury.
2. The Owner Knew and Failed to Act
Less obvious, but just as common, issues are hazards that the owner knew existed but didn't fix. These can include anything from weak or broken stairs to an icy sidewalk or a hole in the parking lot asphalt. At this point, liability is geared toward invitees and licensees who are authorized to be on the property.
You will also need to demonstrate that the owner knew of the hazard. For instance, if they have driven over the pothole every day but failed to address it, they could be held negligent.
3. The Owner Should Have Known
Finally, there is the hardest category to prove. This is a hazard about which it's reasonable to believe the owner should have known the issue based on the circumstances. They don't actually need to walk up and down the broken stairs for a year in order to be liable for an accident. It would be reasonable to believe that they should have discovered and corrected them in the past year.
What makes it reasonable that a property owner should have known about a problem? This is up to a jury to decide. However, the law is generally based on common sense and how most ordinary Americans would act.
Where to Start
Which type of liability might a property owner owe you? No matter the circumstances, the key to winning your case is to understand your rights and the owner's responsibility. Learn more by meeting with a slip-and-fall attorney today.