There are many causes of slip and fall accidents that can cause you serious injuries and for which you are entitled to full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages. For example, suppose you’re in the grocery store doing your weekly food shopping. You are in the produce section, pushing your cart and walking slowly by the food bins, when all of a sudden your foot lands on something slippery, causing you to fall and suffer serious injuries. Or say you’re walking on a city sidewalk when your foot hits a high spot in the cement, causing you to fall and sustain serious injuries. Is the grocery store legally responsible for your injuries and all related damages?
Slip and fall injuries happen all the time, and may be a result of wet or slick floors, spills of liquid or substance of floors, dangerously constructed walkways or stairs, improper maintenance of stairways and railing, faulty rail handles, cracks, potholes and other surface irregularities, potholes in parking lots, falling merchandise, etc…
The legal rule applicable to a slip and fall accidents is that the defendant have actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and has enough time to remedy the dangerous situation. Grocery stores, for example, must check their aisles periodically to ensure there is nothing on the floor that poses a danger to its customers. This is especially true in produce bins, where the fruit or vegetable may fall from the bin onto the floor, causing a dangerous condition to shoppers. Most grocery stores do periodic visual sweeps of its aisles to make sure they are clean and clear of any substances on the floor that may create a dangerous condition. Ideally, the store keeps a “sweep log” which documents when the store was checked for dangerous conditions and by whom.
If you sustain an injury in a grocery store or at a super market there is a question that comes into play, regarding how long the fallen goods or produce has been on the floor and whether or not it should have been detected and safely addressed by store employees prior to your slipping on it or tripping over it.
Sometimes the issue comes down to the condition of the fruit or produce itself. If the fruit – let’s say a tomato – is clean and whole, chances are that it has only recently fallen to the floor and the store has not had enough time to get notice of the tomato on the floor and pick it up. On the other hand, if the tomato is squashed and dirty – evidence that it has fallen out of the bin quite a while earlier – the store should have notice of the tomato on the floor and clean it up. If it doesn’t and a shopper doesn’t see it and slips on it, the grocery store may be liable.
As for uneven sidewalks, the city (or other municipality having jurisdiction over the sidewalk) must maintain its sidewalks in a reasonably safe condition to prevent pedestrians from harm. Dangerous conditions include brupt changes in elevation, uneven surfaces, potholes, and other dangerous conditions. If there is an abrupt change in elevation that poses a tripping hazard, the city or other municipality must remedy it within a reasonable time. Interim repairs are often made by putting asphalt on the sidewalk to avoid an uneven surface.
Regardless of cause, the main things to prove in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases are:
The owner of a property (or occupier such as a tenant) who has control over the premises owes a legal duty to keep the property reasonably safe for all visitors who enter the property. Generally, a landowner owes no duty to protect someone outside the property from natural conditions except under certain circumstances like a leaky pipe that causes the sidewalk to be slick. Other exceptions to this rule include trees growing on the property owner’s property, a broken or leaky pipe that allows for water to turn into ice on the sidewalk etc…
A property owner is generally not liable if a person is injured on their property when acting in a dangerous or careless way. This also includes actions which are unauthorized or unexpected. Since often times, the occupier (tenant) is different than the owner of the property, we must discuss the liabilities that each may have if and when an accident occurs on their property. When a premises liability case revolves around the responsibility of the tenant or owner, generally both can be held responsible for the injuries as a result of a slip and fall, trip and fall or premises liability claim.
Generally, the type of duty owed to the victim of a slip and fall accident depends on the relationship of the individual to the property. Since these types of accidents commonly occur on commercial properties, residential properties and public property, it is important to distinguish between the three.
If you have been injured while at a store, amusement park, office building or any other type of business residential property or public property, it is important to properly document the fall or the accident, take notes, take photos if possible, and file an incident report with the property manager or incident department. Seeking sound and effective legal advice can be invaluable when determining your claim against the landowner. It is important to speak with an experienced slip and fall attorney and premises liability lawyer that can properly evaluate your claim and give you an honest and fair evaluation of your claim.
If you have been seriously injured or had a loved one killed due to a slip or trip and fall while at a store, amusement park, office building or any other type of business residential property or public property, it is important to properly document the fall or the accident, take notes, take photos if possible, and file an incident report with the property manager or incident department. Most importantly, you want to get the proper medical care for your injuries, and speak with a doctor regarding any continuing pain you may have. Seeking sound and effective legal advice can be invaluable when determining your claim against the landowner. It is important to speak with an experience slip and fall attorney and premises liability lawyer that can properly evaluate your claim and give you an honest and fair evaluation of your claim.
Contacting an experience personal injury attorney as soon as possible, will put you in the best possible position, to obtain maximum monetary recovery from the careless (“negligent”) owner who was responsible for keeping the area safe. We at the Torkzadeh Law Firm are experienced in handling serious cases involving slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls and will aggressively pursue your case to ensure that you get maximum recover for you and your passengers’ injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages. CALL NOW (888) 845-9696.