Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year in “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” injuries resulting from the dangerous condition of the property. To hold a landowner or business owner legally responsible (“liable”) for the injuries sustained by a customer when he or she slipped due to a dangerous condition on the property, it is vital that the injured victim prove that the landowner or business owner had “notice” of the dangerous condition. The notice may be “actual,” such as in the case where the owner or one of his or her employees created the dangerous condition, or an employee was informed of the dangerous condition in plenty of time to fix or clean the dangerous condition or post a sign warning of the dangerous condition.
In many cases, the notice of the dangerous condition is “constructive.” That means that the dangerous condition existed for a period of time that a reasonably careful owner or employee would have discovered or seen it, or was notified of the dangerous condition in sufficient time before the victim’s fall to remove the danger.
If a victim has no evidence of the source of the dangerous condition or the length of time it has existed, evidence of the owner’s failure to inspect the premises within a reasonable period of time is enough to permit a legal inference that the condition was on the floor long enough to give the owner the opportunity to discover the danger and fix it.
In “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases, one defense the landowner will frequently assert is that the defect was “trivial” and therefore he or she should not be held liable for the injured victim’s injuries. The courts recognize that a landowner cannot be held legally responsible for every minor imperfection on the property, even if the landowner is aware of its presence. The courts apply the legal rule that it is impossible for a landowner to maintain heavily traveled surfaces in perfect condition and minor defects such as differences in elevation are bound to occur despite the use of care by the landowner.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a “slip and fall” or “trip and fall,” whether on private property or property open to the public, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately so he or she can start working right away to obtain all the monetary compensation you are entitled to.