What Determines Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and Fall Accidents

Say you just got off work and you’re enjoying your afternoon after a hard day of work. You decide to go to a restaurant to grab a bite to eat and out of the blue, you lose your footing and slip on some kind of hazard. The fall leaves you with a broken bone that hinders your ability to live and work normally. It’s rough having an injury you don’t deserve, but know that while slip and falls are one of the most common personal injury cases, there are a couple of nuances to consider that will determine whether your case is worth taking on.

Like in any personal injury case, for slip and fall incidents, one must determine who is negligent and thus who is more at fault.

Reasons the Property Owner Could Be Liable

The property owner could be found negligent if they created the hazard and are aware that the hazard exists. Not only that, but the property owner can also be found to be negligent if the owner or other employee was aware of the hazard, even if they didn’t create it. The idea is that to be negligent, an individual needs to be aware that the hazard itself exists, but also needs to have made no attempt to get rid of it or conspicuously mark the existence of said hazard while knowing it’s there.

Reasons You May Be Liable

You will be held liable, though, if you had no reasonable access or reason to be in an area marked to be hazardous. Even if you are allowed where the general perimeter the hazard is located, but you ignore the warning marking the hazard, then you’re still liable in that sense as well.

Say that you have reasonable access, the hazard is marked within the area, but something is distracting you. Perhaps you’re walking and talking to someone, maybe even the owner of the property. Though the other person doesn’t slip on the hazard, you unfortunately do and suffer a fractured bone. Certainly, you can’t be held responsible for a hazard you didn’t see because the owner of the property occupied your senses, right? Wrong.

While it is the owner’s responsibility to create a safe environment for pedestrians to traverse or visibly mark hazards to be avoided, it is up to you to pay attention to your surroundings and express reasonable care for your own safety. That said, if you’re talking to someone, texting, or distracted by some other phenomenon, you would be liable for slipping on the hazard even if the “event” was “too compelling” to ignore. Willingly diverting your attention from the marked hazard towards something else in itself makes you liable for an accident of your own creation. 

Overall, if you’re a property owner and you see a hazard, get rid of it or mark it with a warning until you do. If you are a pedestrian, be on the lookout for any warning for hazards and stay out of places you’re not supposed to be. If you or someone you know has been involved in a slip and fall accident, contact a personal injury attorney, like a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, NV, today.

Thanks to Eric Roy Law Firm for their insight into what determines liability in a slip and fall case.