If you slip and fall on someone else’s property and sustain an injury, you have the right to sue the property owner or operator. Establishing his or her liability for your injury, however, may prove more difficult than you initially think.
FindLaw explains that property owners and operators have the duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. Nevertheless, they do not have the duty to maintain it in a condition that will prevent all persons from slipping and falling at all times. You, as a visitor or invited guest, bear responsibility for your own safety. This includes avoiding all hazards that a reasonable person would avoid.
To prevail in your slip-and-fall lawsuit, you will need to provide clear and convincing evidence of at least one of the following:
- That the owner or operator knew about the dangerous property condition that caused your slip-and-fall, but failed to repair it or adequately warn against it
- That (s)he should have known about the dangerous property condition, whether or not (s)he actually did, because a reasonable owner/operator would have known about it
- That (s)he caused the dangerous property condition himself or herself
If at all possible, take pictures of the dangerous condition that caused your slip-and-fall as soon as you can after your injury. The jury will need to know not only the precise hazard that you slipped, tripped or fell over, they will also need to know where it was in relation to everything else and whether or not the property owner/operator had erected any barriers around it or placed warning notices near it.
Part of your attorney’s pre–trial investigation should attempt to discover how long the hazard existed prior to your slip-and-fall. (S)he should also attempt to discover whether the hazard existed for a legitimate reason or whether it existed due to pure negligence on the part of the owner/operator.